Tennessee Radiocarbon Dates :: Tennessee Archaeology Network

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Tennessee Radiocarbon Dates, List Version 1.00[ PDF format ]

Tennessee Radiocarbon Dates

The first version of the Tennessee Radiocarbon Dates List (Version 1.00) was published in the Tennessee Anthropologist, Volume 24(1-2). Version 1.00 presents basic information on 779 radiocarbon dates for archaeological sites in Tennessee. These dates represent the majority reported for Tennessee through 1998 along with published dates through 2002. The data is presented in two formats: (a) by county and site number; and (b) in ascending age of radiocarbon age before present.

Version 1.00 is an effort to provide a starting point for a state-wide compilation of radiocarbon dates. The database currently includes the most comprehensive set of radiocarbon dates and citations to primary sources available to the author. The list is undoubtedly incomplete, but should reflect the majority of dates published in academic literature through 2001 and the majority of dates in “gray literature” reports through 1998.

The current compilation of radiocarbon dates is an effort to supply very basic information to researchers interested in specific parts of the state or for specific time periods. The current database is provided in two formats: (a) by county (Table 4), and (b) in ascending radiocarbon years before present (Table 5). This version is limited to the following information:

Site #. Unless otherwise noted, archaeological sites are designated using official Tennessee Site Survey Numbers. These numbers are assigned by the Site File Curator, Tennessee Division of Archaeology, Department of Environment and Conservation, 5103 Edmondson Pike, Nashville TN 37211. Numbers are designated using a trinomial system: (a) State designation for Tennessee is “40” followed by (b) two-letter county abbreviation followed by (c) a sequential number for sites in each county. For example, the fifth site recorded in Knox County would be designated 40KN5.

Common Name(s). Where known, names in common use for the sites are provided.

Lab Number. The sample number assigned by the processing radiocarbon laboratory.

B.P. The “radiocarbon years before present” assigned to the sample by the processing laboratory.

S.D. The one-sigma standard deviation assigned to the sample by the laboratory. Dates reported as two-sigma deviations have been standardized to one-sigma.

Source. Citations are to sources verified by the author unless otherwise noted. In general, citations are for the publication containing the most complete information about the sample context. In a few instances, these were not available to the author and the reference given is to a secondary source.

TNDATE. Sequential Tennessee Chronological Database number assigned for project reference.

While the first version of this database leaves much to be desired, the author hopes that researchers will find this guide useful for information on the majority of Tennessee radiocarbon dates. The data tables include 779 entries with varying amounts of information from approximately ninety sites. The reported dates were produced at more than twelve laboratories between 1955 and 2001 and considerable more research and indexing is needed to expand the database to a primary source.

Interested readers and researchers should contact the author with comments, corrections, and additions to this version of the database. Future versions and revisions will rely in no small part on the same spirit of cooperation that permitted the production of this first version.

Acknowledgements: While I take full responsibility for the content and any errors herein, my thanks to the many individuals who contributed information towards this project. A special thanks to Andrew Bradbury, Charles Bentz, Mitchell Childress, Charles Faulkner, Suzanne Hoyal, Alan Longmire, and Danielle Myers for supplying previously compiled lists of dates for their part of the state, and/or for providing supplementary information or correcting errors and discrepancies discovered during the project. In addition, I thank three of my former students – Chris Henslee, Fran Henslee, and Marilyn Peters – who spent many hours flipping pages in reports and publications looking for dates and cross-checking references.

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