AMS 14C age constraints on geoglyphs in the lower colorado river region, arizona and california

Jay Von Werlhof, Harry Casey, Ronald Dorn, Glenn A. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Giant ground figures are widespread in the lower Colorado River area of southwestern North America, yet their chronology has remained unconstrained by numerical ages. Thirteen AMS 14C measurements reported here indicate that geoglyphs were made from before ˜A. D. 1200 to before ˜900 B. C. We account for potential contamination from prior organics in weathering rinds. All other potential errors point to 14C dates being minimum‐limiting ages for the manufacturing of geoglyphs. Although these ages indicate considerable chronological complexity among geoglyphs, our data are consistent with the linguistic hypothesis that the Yuman people in the desert of southeastern California migrated from Baja California—rather than from the north. These results must, however, be placed under the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over the entire field of AMS dating of rock art: the untested assumption surrounding contemporeneity of organics in a surface context. © 1995 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-273
Number of pages17
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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