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A Bayesian approach to regional ceramic seriation and political history in the Southern Appalachian region (Northern Georgia) of the Southeastern United States

Lulewicz, Jacob
Journal of archaeological science 2019 v.105 pp. 1-10
Bayesian theory, Mississippian period, archaeology, ceramics, correspondence analysis, data collection, politics, Appalachian region, Georgia
In this paper, I explore multiple methods of ceramic seriation, including correspondence analysis and frequency seriation, to revise the regional ceramic sequence for the Mississippian period of northern Georgia in the Southeastern United States, a period defined by the emergence of complex sociopolitical organization and marked socioeconomic inequality. I present a Bayesian radiocarbon framework for interpreting these seriations and situating them in absolute time. As the acquisition of new data and new analyses continuously demand reevaluations of any ceramic chronology, the analytical framework outlined here offers an avenue for future ceramic and radiocarbon datasets to be formally integrated with extant datasets to quantitatively reevaluate archaeological sequences. Because changes to materials and material attributes continue to be employed to construct culture-historical narratives and timelines across the world, especially for the purpose of highlighting and defining critical social, political, economic, and cultural transitions, the methodological approach presented here provides opportunities to formally explore, assess, and re-evaluate temporalities of cultural change.