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Radiocarbon and Stratigraphic Chronology of Canímar Abajo, Matanzas, Cuba

Mirjana Roksandic, William Mark Buhay, Yadira Chinique des Armas, Roberto Rodríguez Suárez, Matthew C Peros, Ivan Roksandic, Stephanie Mowat, Luis M Vieira, Carlos Arredondo, Antonio Martínez Fuentes, David Gray Smith

Abstract


Twelve accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dates from the shell-matrix site of Canímar Abajo (Matanzas, Cuba) are reported. Eleven were obtained directly from human bone collagen in burials and one was obtained from charcoal recovered from a burial context. The site stratigraphy presents two episodes of burial activity separated by a shell midden layer. The AMS dates fall into two compact clusters that correlate remarkably well with the stratigraphy. The older burial dates to between 1380–800 cal BC (2σ) and the younger one to between cal AD 360–950 (2σ). The AMS dates are compared to eight conventional 14C dates previously obtained on shell and charcoal. One of the conventional dates on charcoal (5480–5380 cal BC; 2σ) has been reported as the oldest 14C date in the Caribbean region; its context and reliability are clarified. The suite of AMS dates provides one of the most reliable chronometric dating of a cultural context during this timeframe in Cuba. The correlation of 14C and stratigraphy establishes a solid chronology for investigating the important economic and ritual features of Canímar Abajo.

DOI: 10.2458/azu_rc.57.18313


Keywords


archaeology; Caribbean; Cuba; burials; stratigraphy; AMS radiocarbon dating

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