Mean Ceramic Dating

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A statistical technique devised by Stanley South for pooling the median age of manufacture for temporally significant pottery types at American Colonial sites. It is especially applicable to 18th-century sites, where many distinctive ceramic types may be expected to occur in large numbers. The mean ceramic date is found by multiplying the sum of the median dates for the manufacture of each ceramic type of the frequency of each ceramic type and dividing this figure by the total frequency of all ceramic types. The median date for each type is arrived at from documentary evidence. One shortcomings is that the supposition that the median date coincides with the period of maximum use; another is the use of a count of sherds rather than whole vessels.

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Method devised by Stanley South for arriving at the mean date of occupation of American Colonial sites. It is especially applicable to 18th-century sites, where many distinctive ceramic types may be expected to occur in large numbers. The mean ceramic date is found by multiplying the sum of the median dates for the manufacture of each ceramic type by the frequency of each ceramic type and dividing this figure by the total frequency of all ceramic types. The median date for each type is arrived at from documentary evidence. Although there are notable shortcomings (e.g. the supposition that the median date coincides with the period of maximum use, and the use of a count of sherds rather than whole vessels) the method has been successfully applied at sites in North Carolina and elsewhere.

The Macmillan dictionary of archaeology, Ruth D. Whitehouse, 1983Copied

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