• 14C Dating of Carbonate Mortars from Polish and Israeli Sites

      Nawrocka, Danuta; Czernik, Justyna; Goslar, Tomasz (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      The presented research involves the analysis and radiocarbon dating of 2 different groups of carbonate mortars, from Kraków, Poland and Hippos, Israel. Differences in composition of the mortars are reflected in different rates of their acid leaching. The Israeli mortars contain carbonate-basaltic aggregates, which may cause overestimation of 14C age. Preliminary processing of these samples (choice of selected grain-size fraction and collection of CO2 released during the first phase of the acid-leaching reaction), enabled us to obtain good agreement between the 14C dates and the age derived from historical contexts. A similar method of preliminary processing was applied to the carbonate mortars of the Medieval building in Kraków. The Polish samples represent carbonate mortars with some admixture of quartz aggregates, suggesting that they would be an ideal material for 14C dating. However, these samples contained white lumps of carbonates, the structure of which differed from that of the binder. These admixtures, possibly related to the hydrological conditions at the site and to the character of the ingredients, appeared modern, and if not removed prior to acid leaching, they could cause underestimation of the age of samples. The 14C dates of the mortars from the walls of the Small Scales building in Krakòw are the first obtained for this object, and their sequence does not contradict archaeological indications on several phases of the building construction.
    • AMS 14C Dating of Romanesque Rotunda and Stone Buildings of a Medieval Monastery in Łekno, Poland

      Wyrwa, Andrzej M.; Goslar, Tomasz; Czernik, Justyna (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Archaeological excavations performed for many years in Łekno, central Poland, have exposed relicts of wooden fortified settlements, and in its enclosure also basements of stone buildings, consisting of Romanesque rotunda and a Cistercian monastery, including an oratory, church, and abbot's house. Earlier archaeological, structural, and stratigraphical studies have shown that these buildings were constructed in a sequence and represented several phases of development. In this paper, we present results of radiocarbon dating of stone buildings of the rotunda and the monastery. For 14C dating, we used tiny pieces of charcoal retrieved from calcareous and gypsum mortar binding stone elements from the buildings. These pieces were incorporated in mortar during the firing process, where the fuel used for firing was wood. Most of the obtained 14C dates formed clear groups, confirming that individual buildings were constructed in separate periods. Calibrated 14C dates of these phases agree well with the constraints provided by historical sources, and enable us to set their ages with accuracy better than previously available. In particular, we have learned that the oldest rotunda was built at the boundary of the 10/11th centuries, and the church and the abbot's house, before AD 1250. However, some samples gave much too old 14C ages, clearly reflecting the use of old wood for firing. These problems were revealed only for samples from the rotunda and for the gypsum stone ornamental details.