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Prehistoric Ceramics

Radiocarbon Dates

Radiocarbon dating provides a way to determine the age of archaeological deposits and associated artifacts. Carbon samples, most often charcoal or burnt encrustations on ceramic vessels, are carefully collected from an excavation. The amount of radioactive Carbon 14 isotope present in the sample is measured to calibrate how much time has gone by since the material was burnt.

Carbon is found in every living organism and is absorbed from the atmosphere. When a plant or animal dies, the amount of carbon isotopes begin to decay at a known and constant rate. By measuring the radioactive Carbon14 (C14) concentrations, the time of the organism's death can be estimated. For a more in-depth explanation of how radiocarbon dating works, you may want to visit the websites listed on our Links page.

While creating this webpage on Maryland's diagnostic artifacts, we compiled a database of radiocarbon dates that have been produced over the last 30 years in Maryland and surrounding states. Newer methods of processing samples and calibrating the dates have brought many previously-run dates into question. Some of these dates may be inaccurate due to the length of time since they were processed and the integrity of the data concerning associated artifacts, for example, shell is sometimes used as a sample for radiocarbon dating, and these dates are often less reliable than those run on burnt wood.

For these tables, we have attempted to present only the most reliable, emphasizing those most recently obtained, in actual association with the ceramic wares and from Maryland sites. We plan to continue to refine these tables and to add new information as it becomes available.

Marcey Creek / Dames Quarter / Selden Island / Accokeek / Wolfe Neck / Popes Creek / Coulbourn / Watson / Mockley / Clemson Island / Page / Shepard / Townsend / Sullivan Cove / Moyaone / Potomac Creek / Keyser / Yeocomico

Marcey Creek
Date Sample #  Site Feature Reference
2900 + 95;    950 B.C. I-5091 Monocacy (18FR100) Zone 5 Ayers 1972
2495 + 95;    545 B.C. I-5090 Monocacy (18FR100) Zone 5 Ayers 1972

Dames Quarter
Date Sample # Site Association Reference
2955 + 90;     1005 B.C. UGa-5376 Clyde Farm, DE Dames Quarter ceramics Custer, Watson and DeSantis 1986
Selden Island
Date Sample # Site Reference
2955 + 90;    1005 B.C. UGa-5376 Clyde Farm, DE Custer, Watson and DeSantis 1986
Accokeek
Date Sample # Site Reference
2960 + 120;      1010 B.C. Beta-34389 522 Bridge (44WR329) McLearen 1991b
2930 + 100;      980 B.C. Beta-34388 522 Bridge (44WR329) McLearen 1991b
2800 + 90;        850 B.C. Beta-34386 522 Bridge (44WR329) McLearen 1991b
2740 + 150;      790 B.C. Beta-34390 522 Bridge (44WR329) McLearen 1991b
Wolfe Neck
Date Sample # Site Feature Reference
2735 + 75;    785 B.C. SI-2191 Nassawango Creek (18WO23) Feature 19 Bastian 1975
2455 + 60;    505 B.C. UGa-1223 Wolfe Neck, DE (7S-D-10)    Artusy 1976: 3
2450 + 85;    500 B.C. I-6891 Dill Farm, DE (7K-E-12)    Artusy 1976: 3
2445 + 100;    495 B.C. SI-2188 Nassawango Creek (18WO23) Feature 1 Bastian 1975
2330 + 85;    380 B.C. I-6886 Dill Farm, DE (7K-E-12)    Griffith 1982
2190 + 100;    240 B.C. SI-2190 Nassawango Creek (18WO23) Feature 6 Bastian 1975
2190 + 100;    240 B.C. SI-2189 Nassawango Creek (18WO23) Feature 1 Bastian 1975
Popes Creek
Date Corrected Date Sample # Site Feature Reference
2460 + 100;
510 B.C.
500 B.C.  SI-450 Piscataway
(18PR7)
Pit 32-1 Woodward and Phebus 1973
2440 + 95;
490 B.C.
590 B.C.  I-5247 Lovola Retreat (18CH58) Level 2 Handsman and McNett 1974:4
2270 + 95;
320 B.C.
410 B.C.  SI-2900 Abells Wharf (18ST53) >1m below Plow zone Maryland Historical Trust Site Files
2235 + 100;
285 B.C.
285 B.C.  AA-3867 Chapel Point (18CH79)   Curry and Kavanagh 1993: 35
Coulbourn
Date Sample # Site Association Reference
2240 + 60;    290 B.C. UGa-1763 Wilgus, DE (7S-K-21) Coulbourn/Wolfe Neck Artusy 1976
2325 + 60;   375 B.C. UGa-1224 Wolfe Neck, DE (7S-D-10) Coulbourn Griffith and Artusy 1977:15
Watson
Date Sample # Site Feature Reference
1620 + 170; A.D. 500 – 710, intercept @ A.D. 420 Beta-42753 Mexico Farms (18AG167) Feature 1a Wall 1993a, 1993b
1270 + 60; A.D. 625-980; intercepts @ A.D. 720,745,760 Beta-51491 Adell, WV (46GT67)    Wall 1993a
Mockley
Date Sample # Sample type Site Feature Reference
1750 + 90;  A.D. 200 SI-449 Charcoal Piscataway (18PR7) Pit 32-1 Woodward and Phebus 1973
1565 + 90;   A.D. 385 SI-2899 Wood Abells Wharf (18ST53) Feature 40 Maryland Historical Trust Files
1450 + 80;   A.D. 500 Beta-48311    Patuxent Point (18CV271)    Notes on file MAC Lab 
1370 + 120;  A.D. 580 M-1608 Deciduous wood charcoal Luce Creek (18AN143) Square 1 Crane and Griffin 1966
1250 + 90;   A.D. 700 SI-3670 Wood Rose Haven (18AN279) Feature 4 Maryland Historical Trust Files
1135 + 95;   A.D. 815 I-5247    Loyola Retreat (18CH58) Zone II/III Maryland Historical Trust Files
1050 + 140;   A.D. 900 Beta-27174    Patuxent Point (18CV271)    Notes on file MAC Lab
Clemson Island
Date Sample # Site  Feature Associated Material Reference
940 + 65; AD 1010 SI-6447 Paw Paw (18AG144) Feature 3 Crushed Rock/Chert/
mixed temper pottery
Kavanagh 1984
Page
Date Sample # Site Feature Reference
920 + 60; calibrated A.D. 1005 – 1250; multiple intercepts at A.D. 1055, 1085, 1150 Beta-143409 Barton
(18AG3)
Feature 63 Wall 2001
830 + 70 B.P.; calibrated A.D. 1170 -1225; intercept at A.D. 1225 Beta-87251 Barton
(18AG3)
Feature 16 Wall 2001
900 + 50 B.P.; calibrated A.D. 1020 – 1250;  intercept at A.D. 1160 Beta-143406 Barton
(18AG3)
Feature 53 Wall 2001
830 + 60 B.P.; calibrated A.D. 1040 –1290;  intercept at A.D. 1215 Beta-24721 Sang Run
(18GA22)
Feature 11 Wall 1989
770 + 60; calibrated A.D. 1170 – 1300; intercept at A.D. 1270 Beta- 24720 Sang Run
(18GA22)
Feature 10 Wall 1989
950 + 45 B.P.; uncalibrated SI-7024 Cresaptown (18AG119) Feature 180 Wall 2001
915 + 70; uncalibrated SI-7025 Cresaptown (18AG119) Feature 259 Wall 2001
Shepard
Date Sample # Site Feature Reference
935 + 60; A.D. 1015 SI-4582 Rosenstock (18FR18) Feature 6 Griffith 1982
915 + 60; A.D. 1035 SI-3661 Biggs Ford (18FR14) Feature 4 Curry and Kavanagh 1991
615 + 60; A.D. 1335 SI-4579 Rosenstock (18FR18) Feature 4 Griffith 1982
530 + 60; A.D. 1420 SI-4578 Rosenstock (18FR18) Feature 4 Griffith 1982
500 + 30; A.D. 1450 SI-4581 Rosenstock (18FR18) Feature 5 Griffith 1982
Townsend
Type Date Sample # Site Feature Reference
Townsend 920 + 110; A.D. 1030 Beta-11638 Duck's Run
(18AN546)
Test Pit 2, Level 3 Koski-Karell
and Ortiz 1986
Townsend 810 + 80; A.D. 1140 Beta-11639 Duck's Run
(18AN546)
Test Pit 1A, Level 3 Koski-Karell
and Ortiz 1986
Townsend 420 + 100; A.D. 1530 SI-6404 Locust Neck (18DO117) Feature 3 McNamara
1985
Rappahanock Fabric Impressed 710 + 80; A.D. 1180-1410; intercept A.D. 1290 Beta-151237 Maddox Island
Site (18SO240)
Feature 2 Lowery 1996;
Wall 2001
Rappahannock Fabric Impressed 660 + 70; A.D. 1290 SI-6731 Locust Neck (18DO117) Feature 16b McNamara
1985
Sullivan Cove
Date Sample # Site Feature Reference
640 + 70;    A.D. 1310 Beta-15936 Solomons (18CV254) Feature A Koski-Karell and Ortiz 1986
620 + 50;    A.D. 1330 Beta- 13050 Solomons (18CV254) Feature A Koski-Karell and Ortiz 1986
565 + 55;    A.D. 1385 SI-3665 Waveland Farm (18AN17) Trash-filled pit Peck 1978
530 + 70;    A.D. 1420 Beta-13051 Solomons (18CV254) Feature B Koski-Karell and Ortiz 1986
Moyaone
Date Sample # Site Feature Reference
640 + 50;    A.D. 1310 DIC-1768 White Oak Point (44WM119)    Waselkov 1982
640 + 50;    A.D. 1310 DIC-1764 White Oak Point (44WM119)    Waselkov 1982
490 + 45;    A.D. 1460 DIC-1766 White Oak Point (44WM119)    Waselkov 1982
Potomac Creek
Date Sample # Site Feature Associated Material Reference
350 + 30; A.D. 1520/1570/1630 Beta-104595 Potomac Creek (44ST2)   Potomac Creek Blanton et al. 1999
410 + 50; A.D. 1460 (intercept date) Beta-102324 Potomac Creek (44ST2)   Potomac Creek Blanton et al. 1999
540 + 60; A.D. 1415 (intercept date) Beta-102323 Potomac Creek (44ST2)   Potomac Creek Blanton et al. 1999
670 + 60; A.D. 1300 (intercept date) Beta-102325 Potomac Creek (44ST2)   Potomac Creek Blanton et al. 1999
375 + 90; A.D. 1575 Data-13560 IH-35 (18CH281)     Dent 1995: 246
Keyser
Date Sample # Site Feature Reference
380 + 70; calibrated A.D. 1420 – 1660, intercept A.D. 1485 Beta-87249 Barton (18AG3) 17A Wall 2001
380 + 70; calibrated A.D. 1420 – 1660, intercept AD. 1485 Beta-8729 Barton (18AG3) 17A Wall 2001
470 + 60; calibrated A.D. 1400 – 1515, intercept AD 1485 Beta-87248 Barton (18AG3) 34 Wall 2001
420 + 60;    A.D. 1530 Beta-49132 Hughes Site (18MO1) Feature 45 Dent and Jirikowic 1990
450 + 50;    A.D. 1500 Beta-6784 Moore Village (18AG43) Trench B Pousson 1983
530 + 50;    A.D. 1420 Beta-6783 Moore Village (18G43) Trench A Pousson 1983
550 + 70;    A.D. 1400 DIC-2639 Moore Village (18AG43) Trench B Pousson 1983
580 + 60;    A.D. 1370 Beta 49133 Hughes Site (18MO1) Feature 45 Dent and Jirikowic 1990
Yeocomico
Date Sample # Site Feature Reference
440 + 75;    A.D. 1510 DIC-1765 White Oak Point (44WM119)    Waselkov 1982
410 + 55;    A.D. 1540 DIC-1770 White Oak Point (44WM119)    Waselkov 1982
375 + 65;    A.D. 1575 UGa-4571 Cumberland (18CV171) Test Pit 12, Feature 1 Notes on file MAC Lab
345 + 70;    A.D. 1605 SI-4231 Blue Fish Beach (44NB147)    Potter 1983
344 + 70;    A.D. 1606 UGa- 5580 Cumberland (18CV171)    Notes on file MAC Lab
320 + 55;     A.D. 1630 DIC-1767 White Oak Point (44WM119)    Waselkov 1982
305 + 70;    A.D. 1645 SI-4372 Blue Fish Beach (44NB147)    Waselkov 1982
260 + 55;    A.D. 1690 DIC-1762 White Oak Point (44WM119)    Waselkov 1982
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