• Monks and Icon Painters from the Spaso-Andronikov Monastery, Moscow

      Alexandrovskaya, E. I.; Alexandrovskiy, A. L.; van der Plicht, J.; Kovalyukh, N. N.; Skripkin, V. V. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      In the Monastery of Our Saviour and St. Andronicus in Moscow, skeletal remains of clerics and of (possibly) famous icon painters were discovered. The bones were radiocarbon dated, nd concentrations of trace elements in bone tissues were measured. From tombs 1-4, the 14C dates obtained from human bones (likely monks) and from associated wood date to the 14th-15th centuries AD, as expected. Trace element concentrations indicate signs of fasting. Tomb 5 contained 2 burials; these could belong to the famous icon painters Rublev and Chernyi. Indeed, the bones show high concentrations of lead, zinc, and copper, which is typical for remains of artists and metallurgists. The 14C dates of the 2 skeletons, however, differ by 200 yr, and seem to be too old for Rublev and Chernyi. At this stage, it is not clear if the burials can be assigned to these painters.
    • Radiocarbon Measurement Program at the Centro Nacional de Aceleradores (CNA), Spain

      Santos Arévalo, F. Javier; Gómez Martínez, Isabel; García León, Manuel (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      In September 2005, an accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) system based on a 1MV Tandetron accelerator arrived at the Centro Nacional de Aceleradores (CNA). One of the main research programs for this AMS facility is based on radiocarbon. At the same time as the AMS facility was installed and tested, the 14C sample preparation laboratory was designed and set up. A graphitization line that allows the preparation of 5 samples in parallel was designed and built in October 2006. The first months were mainly dedicated to check and optimize all the sample processing. For such a task, several reference samples have been prepared and measured. Since the beginning of 2007, the laboratory has been fully operational and is currently performing as a service for the scientific community. During 2007, nearly 100 unknown samples were prepared and measured in our AMS system. Most of them were for dating purposes, but also other applications were investigated. The performance of the 14C laboratory and dating service will be shown, with some examples as illustration.
    • Radiocarbon Dating of Neolithic Pottery

      Zaitseva, G.; Skripkin, V.; Kovaliukh, N.; Possnert, G.; Dolukhanov, P.; Vybornov, A. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      The direct measurement of organic matter included in archaeological pottery may yield a reliable assessment of age. The main problem consists in the identification of possible origins and assessment of distortion for the age of organic inclusions. Our experiments show that shells included in pottery fabrics are strongly influenced by the reservoir effect, which may reach 500 yr or more. Other organic inclusions, such as lake ooze, do not visibly distort the age. The obtained series of radiocarbon dates have been used for the assessing the age of the early stages of pottery manufacture in southern Russia.
    • Systematic Bias of Radiocarbon Method

      Walanus, Adam (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Systematic bias of dates can became statistically significant regarding the growing global number of dates connected with the calibration curve plateau. For example, samples of true age in the span 800-700 BC are dated to be roughly 100 younger, on average. The curve of expected bias for a given age is presented. To avoid such a bias, the Bayesian paradigm probably must be modified in some way.
    • Radiocarbon Dating of Calcined Bones: Where Does the Carbon Come from?

      Zazzo, A.; Saliège, J-F.; Person, A.; Boucher, H. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Over the past decade, radiocarbon dating of the carbonate contained in the mineral fraction of calcined bones has emerged as a viable alternative to dating skeletal remains in situations where collagen is no longer present. However, anomalously low 13C values have been reported for calcined bones, suggesting that the mineral fraction of bone is altered. Therefore, exchange with other sources of carbon during heating cannot be excluded. Here, we report new results from analyses on cremated bones found in archaeological sites in Africa and the Near East, as well as the results of several experiments aiming at improving our understanding of the fate of mineral and organic carbon of bone during heating. Heating of modern bone was carried out at different temperatures, for different durations, and under natural and controlled conditions, and the evolution of several parameters (weight, color, %C, %N, 13C value, carbonate content, crystallinity indexes measured by XRD and FTIR) was monitored. Results from archaeological sites confirm that calcined bones are unreliable for paleoenvironmental and paleodietary reconstruction using stable isotopes. Experimental results suggest that the carbon remaining in bone after cremation likely comes from the original inorganic pool, highly fractionated due to rapid recrystallization. Therefore, its reliability for 14C dating should be seen as close to that of tooth enamel, due to crystallographic properties of calcined bones.
    • Radiocarbon Dates and the Earliest Colonization of East Polynesia: More than a Case Study

      Della Casa, Philippe (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Over the last 30 yr, there has been an ongoing debate on the dates and modes of the earliest colonization of East Polynesia, namely the Cook Islands, the 5 archipelagos of French Polynesia, the Hawai'i Islands, Easter Island, and New Zealand. At least 3 alternative models were proposed by Sinoto, Anderson, Kirch, and Conte, but interestingly all these models basically relied on the same set of roughly 200 radiocarbon dates on various organic materials from archaeological excavations as far back as the 1950s. Some of the models differed by 500-1000 yr--for a proposed initial colonization around the turn of the BC/AD eras, if not considerably later. By comparing the different approaches to this chronological issue, it becomes evident that almost all known problems in dealing with 14C dates from archaeological excavations are involved: stratigraphy and exact location of samples, sample material and quality, inbuilt ages and reservoir effects, lab errors in ancient dates, etc. More recently, research into landscape and vegetation history has produced alternative 14C dating for early human impact, adding to the confusion about the initial stages of island colonization, while archaeological 14C dates, becoming increasingly "young" as compared to former investigations, now advocate a rapid and late (post-AD 900) colonization of the archipelagos. As it appears, the Polynesian case is more than just another case study, it's a lesson on 14C-based archaeological chronology. The present paper does not pretend to solve the problems of early Polynesian colonization, but intends to contribute to the debate on how 14C specialists and archaeologists might cooperate in the future.
    • 14C Dating of the Upper Paleolithic Site at Krems-Wachtberg, Austria

      Einwögerer, T.; Händel, M.; Neugebauerer-Maresch, C.; Simon, U.; Steier, P.; Teschler-Nicola, M.; Wild, E. M. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      In the course of new excavations at the Upper Paleolithic site at Krems-Wachtberg in the loess region near Krems, Lower Austria, a double burial of newborns was discovered in 2005. One year later, a single grave of an infant was excavated nearby. Both graves are associated with the well-preserved living floor of an Upper Paleolithic hunter-gatherer camp with distinct archaeological features and a rich Gravettian find assemblage. Several charcoal samples from different stratigraphic positions were 14C dated with the accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) method at VERA. The 14C ages confirm the archaeological assessment of the site to the Gravettian time period. According to the uncalibrated 14C ages, the formation time of the living floor is ~27.0 14C kyr BP. 14C data of ~28.6 14C kyr BP determined for an archaeological horizon below the living floor indicate that the location may have been used earlier by people in the Middle Upper Paleolithic.
    • Radiocarbon Dating of the Western European Neolithic: Comparison of the Dates on Bones and Dates on Charcoals

      Denaire, Anthony (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      The subject of this article is the radiocarbon dating on bones in the western European Neolithic. By gathering 14C dates for 2 examples, one chosen in the middle Neolithic of the Rhine region and the other in the end of the early Neolithic in the same region and in the Paris Basin, a significant gap appears between the sum probabilities of dates on charcoals and the ones obtained with bones. A comparison between these results with the few available dendrochronological dates shows that dates on bones seem too young, while the sequence based on charcoals fits. The existence of too-young 14C dates of bones is not new: this phenomenon was already indicated in previous studies. Most explanations agree that there was a source of contamination, during the sample's burial or its treatment in laboratory. These examples illustrate that consequences can be heavy on a chronology built, partly or entirely, on 14C dates of bones..
    • Paleoecology, Subsistence, and 14C Chronology of the Eurasian Caspian Steppe Bronze Age

      Shishlina, N. I.; Zazovskaya, E. P.; van der Plicht, J.; Hedges, R. E. M.; Sevastyanov, V. S.; Chicagova, O. A. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Combined analysis of paleoenvironment, 13C, 15N, and 14C in bone, including paired dating of human bone and terrestrial materials (herbivore bone, wood, charcoal, and textile) has been performed on many samples excavated from Russian kurgan graves. The data can be used for dietary reconstruction, and reservoir corrections for 14C dating of human bone. The latter is essential for an accurate construction of chronologies for the Eneolithic and Bronze Age cultures of the Caspian steppes.
    • A Reappraisal of the Dendrochronology and Dating of Tille Höyük (1993)

      Griggs, Carol B.; Manning, Sturt W. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      The results of a tentative oak tree-ring chronology built from charcoal samples found in Late Bronze to early Iron Age contexts (late 2nd millennium to early 1st millennium BCE) at the site of Tille Hyk in southeast Turkey, and its placement in time, was published in 1993 (Summers 1993). This represented one of the few publications about archaeological dendrochronology for this period and region. However, the dendrochronological sequence and its crossdating have been questioned, including in this journal (Keenan 2002). Here, we critically reassess and revise the dendrochronological positioning of the site's building phases and their place in time by absolutely dating 7 decadal tree-ring sequences via radiocarbon wiggle-matching.
    • Absolute Dating of Monoxylous Boats from Northern Italy

      Martinelli, Nicoletta; Cherkinsky, Alexander (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Twelve monoxylous boats were analyzed from different provinces of northern Italy by radiocarbon and dendrodating. Most of them were dated in the range 6th-12th centuries cal AD. All boats were made from single tree trunks containing ~50 to ~250 tree rings. The results from archaeometric dating in logboats confirm that these kinds of vessels remained practically unchanged for centuries and were in use until recently. The technical features are more strictly related to local traditions than to chronology.
    • Absolute Radiocarbon Chronology in the Formative Pottery Production Center of Santa Lucía, Cochabamba, Bolivia

      Gabelmann, Olga U.; Michczyński, Adam; Pazdur, Anna; Pawlyta, Jacek (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Santa Luca is a pottery production site dating to the Formative period (about 1600 BC to AD 200). It is located in the Cochabamba valleys of the eastern Bolivian Andes. The settlement consists of a residential area and a separate workshop area. A peripheral sector of ash mounds was used as refuse sites and burial grounds. The excavations yielded a total of 16 radiocarbon samples from all 3 sectors, which were dated at the Gliwice Radiocarbon Laboratory (Gliwice, Poland). The results from the deepest trench in the workshop sector (Trench 5) provide information for the stratigraphic sequence and help to define spatial and socioeconomic changes at around 600-500 BC with the beginning of the Late Formative or Santa Luca III phase. The 14C dates from Santa Lucía, therefore, contribute to a better definition of the existing regional Formative period phases and finally to a better understanding of the processes during the Formative period in the south-central Andes.
    • 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.
    • Anthropology and 14C Analysis of Skeletal Remains from Relic Shrines: An Unexpected Source of Information for Medieval Archaeology

      Van Strydonck, Mark; Ervynck, Anton; Vandenbruaene, Marit; Boudain, Mathieu (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Since the early Middle Ages, relics of Catholic saints played an important role in popular religion in Europe. The shrines containing the human remains of the saints, however, are rarely studied, typically only when restoration becomes necessary. Formerly, such study was mostly restricted to the art-historical aspects of the artifacts, sometimes including the counting and rough identification of the bones. In this study, for the first time, and for a number of case studies, a more systematic approach was taken, including detailed physico-anthropological observations, 13C and 15N stable isotope measurements, and 14C analysis of the bones. The importance of this project lies not only in a critical evaluation of the authenticity of the relics. Fruitful insights could also be gained about the origin, history, and treatment of these parts of our religious heritage. Finally, it has been proven that shrines are an important source of early medieval human skeletal material, which is only rarely found in archaeological contexts in Belgium.
    • 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.
    • AMS Radiocarbon Dating of Paleolithic-Aged Charcoal from Europe and the Mediterranean Rim Using ABOx-SC

      Brock, F.; Higham, T. F. G. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Radiocarbon dating of charcoal 25-30 kyr can be problematic due to contamination from exogeneous carbon and the variable effectiveness of 14C pretreatments to remove it. Bird et al. (1999) developed the ABOx-SC (acid-base-oxidation-stepped combustion) method for removing contaminants from older charcoal samples, which involves a harsher treatment than traditional acid-base-acid (ABA) pretreatments. This method has been shown to considerably improve the reliability of dating old charcoal from sites in Australia, South Africa, Brazil, and Malaysia (Bird et al. 1999, 2003; Turney et al. 2001; Santos et al. 2003; Higham et al. 2009a). Here, we apply the technique to material from 5 Paleolithic sites from Europe and the Mediterranean Rim. For 2 of the sites (Kebara Cave, Israel and Taramsa Hill, Egypt), the ABOx-SC and ABA methods produced similar dates. However, in the case of 1 site, the Grotta di Fumane in Italy, ABOx-SC pretreatment produced significantly older results from those of ABA methods, requiring substantial reinterpretation of the archaeological sequence of the site. The rigorous nature of the technique resulted in a high failure rate for sample pretreatment, and insufficient material survived the pretreatment for dating from Grotte des Pigeons, Morocco or Gorham's Cave, Gibraltar.
    • Combination of Numerical Dating Techniques Using 10Be in Rock Boulders and 14C of Resilient Soil Organic Matter for Reconstructing the Chronology of Glacial and Periglacial Processes in a High Alpine Catchment during the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene

      Favilli, Filippo; Egli, Markus; Brandova, Dagmar; Ivy-Ochs, Susan; Kubik, Peter W.; Maisch, Max; Cherubini, Paolo; Haeberli, Wilfried (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Glacier fluctuations and paleoclimatic oscillations during the Late Quaternary in Val di Rabbi (Trentino, northern Italy) were reconstructed using a combination of absolute dating techniques (14C and 10Be) and soil chemical characterization. Extraction and dating of the stable fraction of soil organic matter (SOM) gave valuable information about the minimum age of soil formation and contributed to the deciphering of geomorphic surface dynamics. The comparison of 10Be surface exposure dating (SED) of rock surfaces with the 14C ages of resilient (resistant to H2O2 oxidation) soil organic matter gave a fairly good agreement, but with some questionable aspects. It is concluded that, applied with adequate carefulness, dating of SOM with 14C might be a useful tool in reconstructing landscape history in high Alpine areas with siliceous parent material. The combination of 14C dating of SOM with SED with cosmogenic 10Be (on moraines and erratic boulders) indicated that deglaciation processes in Val di Rabbi were already ongoing by around 14,000 cal BP at an altitude of 2300 m asl and that glacier oscillations might have affected the higher part of the region until about 9000 cal BP. 10Be and 14C ages correlate well with the altitude of the sampling sites and with the established Lateglacial chronology.
    • Chronology and Bell Beaker Common Ware

      Piguet, Martine; Besse, Marie (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      The Bell Beaker is a culture of the Final Neolithic, which spread across Europe between 2900 and 1800 BC. Since its origin is still widely discussed, we have been focusing our analysis on the transition from the Final Neolithic pre-Bell Beaker to the Bell Beaker. We thus seek to evaluate the importance of Neolithic influence in the establishment of the Bell Beaker by studying the common ware pottery and its chronology. Among the 26 main types of common ware defined by Marie Besse (2003), we selected the most relevant ones in order to determine--on the basis of their absolute dating--their appearance either in the Bell Beaker period or in the pre-Bell Beaker groups.
    • Chronology of the Early Pre-Pottery Neolithic Settlement Tell Qaramel, Northern Syria, in the Light of Radiocarbon Dating

      Mazurowski, Ryszard F.; Michczyńska, Danuta J.; Pazdur, Anna; Piotrowska, Natalia (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Archaeological excavations at the Syrian settlement of Tell Qaramel have been conducted since 1999. They are concentrated on remnants of the Protoneolithic and early stages of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period. The settlement has revealed an extremely rich collection of everyday use of flint, bone, and mostly stone objects, such as decorated chlorite or limestone vessels; shaft straighteners used to stretch wooden arrow shafts, richly decorated in geometrical, zoomorphic, and anthropomorphic patterns; as well as different kinds of stones, querns, mortars, pestles, grinders, polishing plates, celts, and adzes. Excavations brought the discovery of 5 circular towers. Some 57 charcoal samples were collected during the excavations and dated in the GADAM Centre in Gliwice, Poland. The stratigraphy of the settlement and results of radiocarbon dating testify that these are the oldest such constructions in the world, older than the famous and unique tower in Jericho. They confirm that the Neolithic culture was formed simultaneously in many regions of the Near East, creating a farming culture and establishing settlements with mud and stone architecture and creating the first stages of a proto-urban being.
    • Conference Group Photo

      Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01