Bayesian Modeling of the Clovis and Folsom Radiocarbon Records Indicates a 200-Year Multigenerational Transition

Briggs Buchanan, J. David Kilby, Jason M. Labelle, Todd A. Surovell, Jacob Holland-Lulewicz, Marcus J. Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

An enduring problem in North American archaeology concerns the nature of the transition between the Clovis and Folsom Paleoindian complexes in the West. Traditional models indicate a temporal hiatus between the two complexes implying that Folsom was a population replacement for Clovis. Alternatively, if Folsom was an innovation that occurred within Clovis populations and subsequently spread, we would expect to see a temporal overlap. Here, we test these hypotheses using high-quality radiocarbon dates and Bayesian statistics to infer the temporal boundaries of the complexes. We show that the Folsom complex initially appears between 12,900 and 12,740 cal BP, whereas Clovis disappears between 12,720 and12,490 cal BP. Therefore, Folsom may have appeared about 200 years before Clovis disappeared, and so the two complexes likely co-occurred in the West for nearly eight generations. This finding suggests that Folsom was a successful adaptive innovation that diffused through the western Clovis population, eventually going to fixation over multiple generations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-580
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Antiquity
Volume87
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 5 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Archaeology
  • Museology

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