• Bayesian Analysis of High-Precision AMS 14C Dates from a Prehistoric Mexican Shellmound

      Kennett, Douglas J.; Culleton, Brendan J.; Voorhies, Barbara; Southon, John R. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2011-01-01)
      We establish a precision accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon chronology for the Archaic period Tlacuachero shellmound (Chiapas, Mexico) within a Bayesian statistical framework. Carbonized twig samples were sequentially selected from well-defined stratigraphic contexts based on iterative improvements to a probabilistic chronological model. Analytical error for these measurements is 15 to 20 14C yr. This greater precision and the absence of stratigraphic reversals eclipses previous 14C work at the site. Based on this, we establish a chronological framework for a sequence of 3 clay floors dating to between 4930 and 4270 cal BP and determine that the bedded shell deposits that formed the mound accumulated rapidly during 2 episodes: a lower 2-m section below the floors that accumulated over a 0-150 cal yr period at 5050-4875 cal BP and, an upper 3.5-m section above the floors that accumulated over a 0-80 cal yr period at 4380-4230 cal BP.