Reservoir effect radiocarbon dating

The prehistoric site of Palamari – located on the northeastern coast of Skyros (38˚ 57΄ 52΄΄ N Lat., 24˚ 30΄ 35΄΄ E.Long) – is a fortified settlement of the Early and Middle Bronze Age (3rd and 2ndmillennium BC) that has been excavated...more The prehistoric site of Palamari – located on the northeastern coast of Skyros (38˚ 57΄ 52΄΄ N Lat., 24˚ 30΄ 35΄΄ E.Long) – is a fortified settlement of the Early and Middle Bronze Age (3rd and 2ndmillennium BC) that has been excavated since 1981 (Parlama 2007, 2009; Parlama et al. During the excavation, pieces of marine and terrestrial materials suitable for radiocarbon dating were unearthed.This paper reports on the absolute dating of the various inhabitation phases of the site and the calculation of the “marine reservoir effect” for this region of the Aegean by dating contemporaneous pairs of samples consisting of marine mollusc shells-charcoals/or animal bones.This work represents a case study of a larger-scale project whose objective is to establish a marine reservoir correction curve for the entire Aegean Sea region.This curve will have wide application to the dating of archaeological strata throughout the region and will be particularly useful where marine shells are the only datable material for a site.

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During the first campaign 6 sampleswere selected and dated at the radiocarbon unit of the laboratory of Archaeometry of NCSR “Demokritos” (Facorellis 1996; Facorellis et al.1998),whereas during the second one, 36 samples, were dated at the Keck Carbon Cycle AMS facility, University of California at Irvine.The latter set of 36 samples were analyzed for species identification prior to dating (Table 1).The sea shells belonged to the following species: Monodonta turbinata (Von BORN, 1778), Patellarustica (L., 1758), Patella caerulea (L., 1758), Glycymeris sp., Arca noae (L.,1758), Stramonita haemastoma (L., 1766), Monodonta articulata (LMCK, 1822), Patella ulyssiponensis(GMELIN, 1791), Hexaplex trunculus (L., 1758) and Operculum Bolma rugosa (L., 1767) (Sabelli et al.1990, So Hel ME 2005, Delamotte and Vardala-Theodorou 2007, So Hel FI 2007). The animals bones where fragments from different skeletal parts of Caprinae and one part from Bovidae and stable isotope analyses (δ15N and δ13C: Table 2) indicate that their diet was based on C3 terrestrial plants (Papathanasiou 2000). In total 13marine reservoir correction values ΔR (Table 3) were determined.The charcoals belong to the following species: Quercus type evergreen, Olea europaea, cf. The results of the radiocarbon dating are presented in Table 1 and are listed from later to earlier. A detailed description of the calculation of the ΔR value can be found in the literature (Stuiver et al.The conventional radiocarbon ages were converted to calendrical dates based on the international calibration curves Int Cal09 for the charcoal samples and Marine09 for the shell samples (Reimer et al. 1986, Stuiver and Braziunas 1993); Facorellis et al. Figure 1 shows the fluctuation of ΔR values versus time with a third degree polynomial fit.The variationsmay be due to changes in climate (temperature, freshwater input, etc.) over this period and are probably associated with changes in themovement of sea watermasses in this region of the Aegean.It is worth noting that Skyros lies in the region where the cold, low-salinity sea watermasses coming fromthe Black Sea through the straits of the Hellespont, meet with the warm, high salinitymasses fromthe southern Aegean Sea (Aksu et al. A more detailed discussion of this variation will be reported elsewhere.Figure 2 depicts the calibrated calendrical dates in years BC of charcoal samples and animal bones (black bars), and of marine mollusc shells (gray bars) for standard deviations 1σ (closed bars) and 2σ (open bars).These results indicate that Palamari on Skyros was inhabited for about 1200 years (ca 2900-1700 BC), i.e. In conclusion, the analysis of samples of terrestrial and marine origin from Palamari has provided information about the plant and animal species used by the residents of the settlement.

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