• The Minoan Santorini Eruption and Tsunami Deposits in Palaikastro (Crete): Dating by Geology, Archaeology, 14C, and Egyptian Chronology

      Bruins, Hendrik J.; van der Plicht, Johannes; MacGillivray, J. Alexander (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Deposits from the Minoan Santorini (Thera) eruption in the eastern Mediterranean region constitute the most important regional stratigraphic marker in the chronological perplexity of the 2nd millennium BCE. Extensive tsunami deposits were discovered in Crete at the Minoan archaeological site of Palaikastro, containing reworked volcanic Santorini ash. Hence, airborne deposition of volcanic ash, probably during the 1st (Plinian) eruption phase, preceded the tsunami, which was apparently generated during the 3rd or 4th phase of the eruption, based on evidence from Thera. Average radiocarbon dates (uncalibrated) of animal bones in the Palaikastro tsunami deposits along the coast (3350 +/- 25 BP) and at the inland archaeological site (3352 +/- 23 BP) are astoundingly similar to the average 14C date for the Minoan Santorini eruption at Akrotiri on Thera (3350 +/- 10 BP). The wiggle-matched 14C date of the eruption in calendar years is 1627-1600 cal BCE. Late Minoan IA pottery is the youngest element in the Palaikastro tsunami deposits, fitting with the LM IA archaeological date for the Santorini eruption, conventionally linked at ~1500 BCE with Dynasty XVIII of the historical Egyptian chronology. The reasons for the discrepancy of 100-150 yr between 14C dating and Egyptian chronology for part of the 2nd millennium BCE are unknown. 14C dates from Tell el-Dabca in the eastern Nile Delta show that the 14C age of the Santorini eruption matches with 14C results from 18th Dynasty strata C3 and C2, thereby confirming grosso modo the conventional archaeo-historical correlations between the Aegean and Egypt. We propose that a dual dating system is used in parallel: (1) archaeological material-cultural correlations linked to Egyptian chronology; (2) 14C dating. Mixing of dates from the 2 systems may lead to erroneous archaeological and historical correlations. A 'calibration curve' should be established between Egyptian chronology and 14C dating for the 2nd millennium BCE, which may also assist to resolve the cause of the discrepancy.
    • Wiggle-Matching Using Known-Age Pine from Jermyn Street, London

      Tyers, Cathy; Sidell, Jane; van der Plicht, Johannes; Marshall, Peter; Cook, Gordon; Bronk Ramsey, Christopher; Bayliss, Alex (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      A slice of pine from the period covered by single-year calibration data (Stuiver 1993) was selected to serve as part of the quality assurance procedures of the English Heritage radiocarbon dating program, following successful wiggle-matching of 14C measurements from structural 15th century English oak timbers (Hamilton et al. 2007). The timber selected was a roofing element from a house on Jermyn Street, central London, demonstrated by dendrochronology to have been felled in AD 1670. Eighteen single-ring samples were dated by the 14C laboratories at Groningen, Oxford, and SUERC: each laboratory was sent a random selection of 6 samples. This approach was intended to mimic the mix of samples and relative ages incorporated into Bayesian chronological models during routine project research. This paper presents the results of this study.