Evaluation of the Pensacola relative ceramic chronology by percentage stratigraphy seriation

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Alabama Libraries

In parts of the Southeastern United States, including south Alabama, relative ceramic chronologies for prehistoric archaeological sequences are based on descriptive type-variety systems of classification that have remained unevaluated by seriation methods. This project assesses the chronological utility of the type-variety classification for Pensacola archaeological culture ceramics through the application of seriation methods to collections from three extensively excavated sites on Mobile Bay. Chronological utility is defined here by application of the popularity principle with evidence of introduction, increase, and decrease in ceramic type-varieties through time as ordered by stratigraphic superposition. Lyman et al. (1998) refer to this combined method of frequency seriation and stratigraphic sequence as percentage stratigraphy, which establishes a relative chronology based on a testable stylistic progression of ceramic types through time. Decorated pottery from Shell Bank (1BA81), Andrews Place (1MB1), and D’Olive Creek (1BA196 and 1BA251) was sorted by previously established type-varieties and a seriation performed using the Excel macro created by Tim Hunt and Carl Lipo. The results demonstrate the care with which Rick Fuller, Noel Stowe, Ian Brown, and Ashley Dumas devised and refined the ceramic chronology through the years, despite the lack of evaluative seriation prior to this thesis. Although not all types seriate and there is still some ambiguity in the early and late phases of the sequence, the overall scheme is highly effective. This thesis provides refinement to the relative ceramic chronology and emphasizes the types that seriate best and should thus be used to define ceramic phases.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation