• Dating the Neolithic: Methodological Premises and Absolute Chronology

      Müller, Johannes (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Ideas of Neolithic societies and of the identities of Neolithic individuals changed rapidly during the last decade. The archaeological concept of "culture" implies sequential changes of material culture in spatial and temporal "slices." The term 'society' describes human behavior within social identities, which could produce huge differences in material culture. Ideas of Neolithic "cultures" are no longer valid, as absolute chronological evidence points to overlapping phenomena of material culture and social developments. A combined use of correspondence analysis (to detect similarities and differences in material culture) and radiocarbon data (to identify the chronological character of material culture) exemplifies such an approach in the deconstruction and reconstruction of Neolithic central Germany.
    • Depending on 14C Data: Chronological Frameworks in the Neolithic and Chalcolithic of Southeastern Europe

      Reingruber, Agathe; Thissen, Laurens (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      With the introduction of the radiocarbon method in 1949 and the calibration curve constantly improving since 1965, but especially due to the development of the more accurate accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) dating some 30 yr ago, the application of the 14C method in prehistory revolutionized traditional chronological frameworks. Theories and models are adjusted to new 14C sequences, and such sequences even lead to the creation of new theories and models. In our contribution, we refer to 2 major issues that are still heavily debated, although their first absolute dating occurred some decades ago: 1) the transition from the Mesolithic to the Early Neolithic in the eastern and western Aegean. Very high 14C data for the beginning of the Neolithic in Greece around 7000 BC fueled debates around the Preceramic period in Thessaly (Argissa-Magoula, Sesklo) and the Early Neolithic in Macedonia (Nea Nikomedeia). A reinterpretation of these data shows that the Neolithic in Greece did not start prior to 6400/6300 BC; 2) the beginning and the end of the Chalcolithic period in SE Europe. Shifting from relative chronologies dating the Chalcolithic to the 3rd millennium BC to an absolute chronology assigning the Kodadermen-Gumelnia-Karanovo VI cultural complex to the 5th millennium BC, the exact beginning and the end of the period are still under research. New data from Varna (Bulgaria) and Pietrele (Romania) suggest that start and end of the SE European Chalcolithic have to be dated deeper into the 5th millennium BC.
    • Developing a Chronology Integrating Archaeological and Environmental Data from Different Contexts: The Late Holocene Sequence of Ounjougou (Mali)

      Ozainne, Sylvain; Lespez, Laurent; Le Drezen, Yann; Eichhorn, Barbara; Neumann, Katharina; Huysecom, Eric (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      At Ounjougou, a site complex situated in the Yamé River valley on the Bandiagara Plateau (Dogon country, Mali), multidisciplinary research has revealed a rich archaeological and paleoenvironmental sequence used to reconstruct the history of human-environment interactions, especially during the Late Holocene (3500-300 cal BC). Geomorphological, archaeological, and archaeobotanical data coming from different sites and contexts were combined in order to elaborate a chronocultural and environmental model for this period. Bayesian analysis of 54 14C dates included within the general Late Holocene stratigraphy of Ounjougou provides better accuracy for limits of the main chronological units, as well as for some particularly important events, like the onset of agriculture in the region. The scenario that can be proposed in the current state of research shows an increasing role of anthropogenic fires from the 3rd millennium cal BC onwards, and the appearance of food production during the 2nd millennium cal BC, coupled with a distinctive cultural break. The Late Holocene sequence ends around 300 cal BC with an important sedimentary hiatus that lasts until the end of the 4th century cal AD.
    • Preface from the Editors

      Hajdas, Irka; Della Casa, Philippe; Egli, Markus; Hügi, Ursula; van Willigan, Samuel; Wörle, Marie (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
    • Radiocarbon Dating of Lumps from Aerial Lime Mortars and Plasters: Methodological Issues and Results from San Nicolò of Capodimonte Church (Camogli, Genoa, Italy)

      Pesce, G.; Quarta, G.; Calcagnile, L.; D'Elia, M.; Cavaciocchi, P.; Lastrico, C.; Guastella, R. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      This paper deals with the potentialities and technical and methodological issues associated with the use of lumps of not completely melted lime as material suitable for the radiocarbon dating of aerial lime mortars and plasters. In fact, the identification and selection of single aggregates of unmelted lumps allows one to reduce the possible contamination resulting from external sources of carbon such as "14C-dead" limestone in sand added to the mixture during preparation. This procedure results in the possibility for accurate 14C determinations from single pieces of masonry, supplying important information about the construction phases of historical buildings. The potential of this approach is shown by presenting the results of the archaeological study on the walls of San Nicol of Capodimonte church (Camogli, Genoa, Italy), where this technique has been successfully applied to obtain absolute ages of different parts of the building. The obtained results were then compared with the information gathered from historical sources and with stratigraphic and other archaeological studies.
    • Radiocarbon Dating of Iron: A Northern Contribution

      Oinonen, M.; Haggren, G.; Kaskela, A.; Lavento, M.; Palonen, V.; Tikkanen, P. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      The iron dating project Aikarauta has been launched in Finland. This paper presents the results of the preliminary investigations. The ability for radiocarbon measurement by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) of iron in Finland has been demonstrated by using coal-produced iron as reference material. An elemental analyzer has been harnessed to measure the carbon content of small iron samples. In addition, we have hypothesized that a fingerprint of the limestone usage in the smelting process is the high Ca content of iron and slag. This has been examined by performing an iron smelting experiment with limestone as flux, by making elemental analyses of ingredients and the resulting slag and iron, and by a 14C analysis of the produced iron. It is possible that limestone dilutes the 14C contents of the produced iron, making its age determination challenging.