• 14C Chronology of Avellino Pumices Eruption and Timing of Human Reoccupation of the Devastated Region

      Passariello, Isabella; Livadie, Claude Albore; Talamo, Pierfrancesco; Lubritto, Carmine; D'Onofrio, Antonio; Terrasi, Filippo (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      The Avellino Pumices eruption was one of the most catastrophic volcanic events of Somma-Vesuvius, which hit prehistoric communities during the Early Bronze Age. In the last 30 yr, several authors reported assessments about its chronology, including radiocarbon datings, but with poor internal agreement and frequently with large experimental errors. A new and more accurate 14C dating of this eruption (1935-1880 BC, 1 sigma) was obtained at the CIRCE laboratory in Caserta (Italy) by 3 AMS measurements on a bone sample of a goat buried by the eruption, collected in an Early Bronze Age village at Croce del Papa (Nola, Naples). These results were verified by other measurements on several samples chronologically related to the eruption. Our data show that human resettlement after the eruption occurred rather quickly but lasted only for a short time in areas affected by the volcanic products, like Masseria Rossa and San Paolo Belsito (Nola, Naples), according to 14C dating of archaeological samples collected below and above the eruption deposits. The state-of-the-art chronology of this eruption, emerging from the results obtained in this work as well as from data in the literature, is discussed.
    • 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.
    • 14C Dating of Cremated Bones: The Issue of Sample Contamination

      Van Strydonck, Mark; Boudin, Mathieu; Mulder, Guy De (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Recent comparative studies have proven the validity of radiocarbon dates of cremated bones. The issue of sample contamination has, however, been overlooked in most studies. Analyses of cremated bone samples has shown that in some cases, cremated bones are contaminated. This contamination is more distinct near the surface of the bones and depends on the compactness of the cremated bone as well as on the site conditions. 13C is not a good estimator to discriminate between contaminated and uncontaminated bones. An acetic acid pretreatment is the most appropriate method to clean samples, but it is better to remove the surface and to avoid cremated bones that are not entirely white (cremation temp. 725 degrees C).
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Can We Get a Good Radiocarbon Age from "Bad Bone"? Determining the Reliability of Radiocarbon Age from Bioapatite

      Cherkinsky, Alexander (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      The study of the radiocarbon age of bone bioapatite was initiated by necessity to date archaeological artifacts, which often contain little or no collagen as a result of poor preservation. Contamination of the organic fraction in the process of the burial or during museum preservation treatment generally prohibits the use of the collagen fraction for dating. Our investigation has shown that the pretreatment of bone with diluted acetic acid following a proscribed technique allows the separation of the bioapatite fraction from diagenetic carbonates. We have successfully used this technique to prepare and date samples of bone and of tooth enamel and dentin, with varying degrees of preservation condition, and from time intervals ranging from a few hundred 14C yr to greater than 40,000 14C yr.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Conference Group Photo

      Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01
    • Conference Participants

      Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01
    • Contradictions in the Relative Chronology: Archaeological and Radiocarbon Dating

      Stöckli, Werner E. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      When comparing dendrodates and radiocarbon dates, I advocate using the mean value for archaeologically defined data series, as in the usual case, the correct dating is always more precise than the calibrated areas. However, in the extreme gradient of the calibration curve, we must consider the errors. Based on the Corded Ware from the Tauber basin, I put forward a first example in which a contradiction between the archaeological and 14C dating occurs. If one cleanly separates the older measurements from Kln and the younger ones from Heidelberg, the contradiction towards the archaeological dating is canceled out when only the younger Heidelberg dates are taken into account. Regarding the Early Bronze Age, I shall first deal with the cemetery at Singen and will show, using the typology and the horizontal distribution of the graves, how outliers can be identified, thus narrowing the range for dating of the cemetery. The comparison of 2 archaeologically contemporaneous cemeteries in the Neckar basin (Rottenburg and Gufelden) again results in contradictions between the archaeological and 14C dating. In this case, the contradictions cannot be solved without any new dating measurements. It is recommended that these should be carried out by at least 2 laboratories. Finally, some recommendations are given to archaeologists. In my opinion, 14C dates that are archaeologically unsuitable should be used to check the findings and the archaeological-typological classification. The contradictions should be reported immediately to the 14C laboratory, so that any possible experimental errors can be identified..
    • Dating Bones near the Limit of the Radiocarbon Dating Method: Study Case Mammoth from Niederweningen, ZH Switzerland

      Hajdas, Irka; Michczyński, Adam; Bonani, Georges; Wacker, Lukas; Furrer, Heinz (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Preparation of bone material for radiocarbon dating is still a subject of investigation. In the past, the most problematic ages appeared to be the very old bones, i.e. those with ages close to the limit of the dating method. Development of preparative methods requires sufficient amounts of bone material as well as the possibility of verification of the ages. In the peat section at Niederweningen, ZH Switzerland, numerous bones of mammoth and other animals were found in the late 19th century. The first accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon ages of those bones from 1890/1891 excavations placed the age between 33,000 and 35,000 BP. The excavations in 2003/2004 provided additional material for 14C dating. An age of 45,870 +/- 1080 BP was obtained on base (NaOH step) cleaned gelatin from mammoth bone, which was very close to the age of 45,430 +/- 1020 BP obtained for the peat layer that buried the mammoths. The 14C age of gelatin cleaned using the ultrafiltration method obtained in this study, 45,720 +/- 710 BP, is in a very good agreement with the previously obtained results. Moreover, the study shows that 3 pretreatment methods (base+Longin, Longin+ultrafiltration, and base+Longin+ultrafiltration) give ages consistent with each other and with the age of the peat section.
    • Dating Charred Soil Organic Matter: Comparison of Radiocarbon Ages from Macrocharcoals and Chemically Separated Charcoal Carbon

      Eckmeier, Eileen; van der Borg, Klaas; Tegtmeier, Ursula; Schmidt, Michael W. I.; Gerlach, Renate (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Radiocarbon dating of charcoal in soils is commonly used to reconstruct past environmental processes. Also microcharcoal that is chemically isolated from soil organic matter by high-energy UV photo-oxidation can be dated with 14C accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). We compared the 14C AMS ages of 13 pairs of hand-picked macrocharcoals and microcharcoal samples separated via the UV oxidation method; both charcoal fractions were taken from the same soil samples (prehistoric pit fillings). We found that in most cases, the microcharcoal fraction yielded older ages than the single macrocharcoal pieces, and that the differences between the ages are not systematic. A reason for these age differences might be that the microcharcoal fraction consists of more stable components than macrocharcoals and thus yields older ages. Dating of microcharcoal would give a mean age of charred organic matter in soil material and the ages of the more stable compounds. Thus, 14C data obtained from the microcharcoal fraction in soils is not comparable to macrocharcoal ages and should not be used to complement existing macrocharcoal data sets.
    • Dating of the Cultural Layers from Vilnius Lower Castle, East Lithuania: Implications for Chronological Attribution and Environmental History

      Mažeika, J.; Blaževičius, P.; Stančikaitė, M; Kisielienė, D. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Complex interdisciplinary studies carried out in the territory of the Vilnius Lower Castle, E Lithuania, were used to construct a chronological framework based on radiocarbon data and archaeological information. Bulk samples (wood and sediment) were collected from an approximately 3-m core that crossed cultural layers and underlying strata. 14C dates indicate that the underlying bed possibly formed during the 6th century AD, although no archaeological finds were discovered there. Paleobotanical (pollen and plant macrofossil) investigations reveal evidence of agriculture that points to the existence of a permanent settlement in the area at that time. The chronological data indicates a sedimentation hiatus before the onset of the deposition of the cultural layer in the studied area. The 14C dates showed that the formation of the cultural bed began during the late 13th-early 14th centuries AD, that is, earlier than expected according to the archaeological record. The ongoing deposition of the cultural beds continued throughout the middle to latter half of the 14th century AD as revealed by the archaeological records and confirmed by well-correlated 14C results. After some decline in human activity in the middle of the 14th century AD, a subsequent ongoing development of the open landscape, along with intensive agriculture, points to an increase in human activity during the second half of the 14th century AD. The first half of the 15th century AD was marked by intensive exploitation of the territory, indicating a period of economic and cultural prosperity. The chronological framework indicates that the investigated cultural beds continued forming until the first half of the 16th century AD.