Dating archaeobotanical remains: a cautionary tale from Port au Choix, Newfoundland
journal contributionposted on 31.07.2020, 11:15 by Robert J Anstey, Eric J Guiry, MAP Renouf, Michael Deal, Benjamin T Fuller
In this paper we report on the first 14C dated archaeological seeds from the island of Newfoundland, Canada. Ninety-three archaeobotanical specimens were recovered from a midden deposit adjacent to a small dwelling at Point Riche (EeBi-20), a large Dorset Palaeoeskimo site near Port au Choix, northwestern Newfoundland. These remains were collected from a seemingly secure context within the midden, but AMS 14C testing of a sample of specimens produced modern 14C dates, indicating that the remains are intrusive to the Dorset occupation. While the majority of Newfoundland-based research assumes antiquity of archaeobotanical remains, we recommend using AMS 14C dating and other proxy data in future archaeobotanical studies to confirm antiquity prior to making interpretations regarding human–plant interactions.