This page summarizes a preliminary frequency-seriation based chronology for the Rich Neck site that was developed by DAACS (see Neiman, Galle, and Wheeler 2003 for technical details). The chronology is preliminary because DAACS is still missing a small amount of fieldwork documentation from the site. It is unlikely that this documentation will substantially alter the results presented here.
DAACS seriated ceramic assemblages, with more than 5 sherds, from individual excavated contexts and from stratigraphic groups -- groups of contexts that field records indicate were part of a single stratigraphic layer or deposit. Stratigraphic groups have a SG-prefix, which precedes the group number (e.g. SG01 equals Stratigraphic Group 1). For example, at the Rich Neck site, two portions of the fill in the builder’s trench for the brick hearth (F23) were excavated as contexts AL00057 and AL00179. These were both assigned to SG10. Not all contexts have stratigraphic group assignments.
DAACS chose to base the seriation chronology for Rich Neck on ceramic assemblages aggregated at the level of contexts and stratigraphic groups, and not at the level of features. Many of the features on the site are subfloor pits, each of which has multiple layers. Basing the seriation on individual layers, rather than combining all the layers in a given pit or feature, makes it possible to discover multiple filling episodes, distributed widely across time for a single pit.
DAACS computed the frequency of mean-ceramic-date (MCD) types in stratigraphic groups and individual contexts, when those contexts had no stratigraphic group assignment. The seriation chronology is derived from a correspondence analysis of these MCD-type frequencies. Seriated assemblages were assigned to phases. Phases are groups of assemblages that have similar correspondence-analysis scores and are therefore inferred to be broadly contemporary. Phases assigned by DAACS have a P-prefix that precedes the phase number (e.g. P01 equals Phase 1).
The stratigraphic relationships among stratigraphic groups and unassigned contexts are summarized in the Harris Matrix for the site. Once they are available, final phase assignments from the seriation will be shown on the Harris Matrix in color, facilitating comparison of the seriation chronology and the stratigraphic chronology of the site.
Rich Neck Site Phases
Based on the correspondence analysis, DAACS divided the occupation of Rich Neck into three phases. The ceramic assemblage from four contexts emerged in the correspondence analysis as outliers in relation to the other assemblages, signaling their distinctive composition, and justifying their placement in Phase 1. All four contexts are associated with subfloor pits under the western structure. Three of these contexts (AL00090, AL00105, and AL00134) comprise the bottom layer in a large subfloor pit (F05) in front of the hearth. The fourth (AL00133) is the bottom layer in a second subfloor pit (F10). Phase 1 appears to date to the second quarter of the 18th-century, despite its relatively late mean ceramic date.
Phase 2 includes all three stratigraphic groups associated with the eastern structure on the site: SG12 and SG13, within the large pit (F01), and SG14 within the subfloor pit (F03). It also includes many layers within the multiple subfloor pits associated with the western structure. Based on MCD and TPQ estimates, Phase 2 probably dates to the 1750’s and 1760’s.
Phase 3 dates to the 1760’s and the early 1770’s and includes subfloor pit layers that were deposited shortly before the site was abandoned.
This three-phase chronology suggests the following hypothesis about the occupational history of the site. The fact that the western structure is aligned perpendicular to and centered on the gable of the eastern structure hints they stood at the same time. The multiple subfloor pits indicate the western structure was a slave house. Could the eastern building have been an original overseer’s house, which was abandoned by Phase 2 and became a convenient receptacle for trash from the western structure?
A Seriation Chronology for the Rich Neck Site
The following table presents a seriation chronology for the Rich Neck site. We use the indefinite article to signify that it is not the only chronology possible, nor even the best one possible. DAACS encourages users of Archive data to help explore improvements.