Effects of Scale on Archaeological and Geoscientific Perspectives
Geoarchaeological perspectives on the past: Chronological considerations
Published:January 01, 1993
Jeffrey S. Dean, 1993. "Geoarchaeological perspectives on the past: Chronological considerations", Effects of Scale on Archaeological and Geoscientific Perspectives, Julie K. Stein, Angela R. Linse
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Integration of the geological and archaeological perspectives into a unified geoarchaeological approach has been impeded by differences in the temporal scales of analysis used by the two disciplines. These disparities reflect (1) the chronological scope of the events or processes to be explained and (2) the sensitivity with which variation on this dimension is measured. Because geologic processes and human behavioral processes commonly operate at different rates, the chronological information inherent in these processes is incapable of resolving the different scales. Therefore, reconciliation of these temporal perspectives depends primarily on the application of independent dating techniques to both geologic and archaeological phenomena. Recent research in northeastern Arizona integrates geological and archaeological scales of time measurement in a unified attack on problems of human behavioral adaptation to environmental variability. Correlation of the various time scales employed (1) independent chronometry (radiocarbon and tree-ring dating), (2) intrinsic dating (stratigraphic relationships and ceramic placement), and (3) direct association between geological, archaeological, and chronometric samples. This degree of chronological integration delineated differential behavioral responses to low- and high-frequency environmental fluctuations.