A new strategy for analyzing the chronometry of constructed rock features in deserts

Niccole Villa Cerveny, Russell Kaldenberg, Judyth Reed, David S. Whitley, Joseph Simon, Ronald Dorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The western Great Basin contains thousands of constructed rock features, including rock rings, cairns, and alignments. Unlike subtractive geoglyphs, such as the Nasca Lines of Peru, that remove desert pavement, these surface features alter the location and positioning of cobble- to boulder-sized rocks. The chronology of surface rock features has remained unconstrained by numerical ages because no prior chronometric approach has been able to yield age control. We propose a new strategy for studying these features by analyzing anthropogenic modifications to rock coatings, an approach that permits the use of several dating methods, two of which are assessed here: radiocarbon dating of pedogenic carbonate and rock-varnish microlaminations. Initial results from Searles Valley, eastern California, suggest that constructed rock features may be as old as early Holocene and terminal Pleistocene. Archaeological surveys of desert areas would be greatly enhanced if they noted altered positions of rock coatings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-303
Number of pages23
JournalGeoarchaeology
Volume21
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2006

Fingerprint

desert
Peru
rock
coating
rock varnish
dating method
radiocarbon dating
boulder
Rock
Chronometry
pavement
positioning
chronology
Holocene
Pleistocene
carbonate
valley
basin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Archaeology

Cite this

Cerveny, N. V., Kaldenberg, R., Reed, J., Whitley, D. S., Simon, J., & Dorn, R. (2006). A new strategy for analyzing the chronometry of constructed rock features in deserts. Geoarchaeology, 21(3), 281-303. https://doi.org/10.1002/gea.20097

A new strategy for analyzing the chronometry of constructed rock features in deserts. / Cerveny, Niccole Villa; Kaldenberg, Russell; Reed, Judyth; Whitley, David S.; Simon, Joseph; Dorn, Ronald.

In: Geoarchaeology, Vol. 21, No. 3, 03.2006, p. 281-303.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Cerveny, NV, Kaldenberg, R, Reed, J, Whitley, DS, Simon, J & Dorn, R 2006, 'A new strategy for analyzing the chronometry of constructed rock features in deserts', Geoarchaeology, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 281-303. https://doi.org/10.1002/gea.20097
Cerveny, Niccole Villa ; Kaldenberg, Russell ; Reed, Judyth ; Whitley, David S. ; Simon, Joseph ; Dorn, Ronald. / A new strategy for analyzing the chronometry of constructed rock features in deserts. In: Geoarchaeology. 2006 ; Vol. 21, No. 3. pp. 281-303.
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