Palaeolithic radiocarbon chronology: Quantifying our confidence beyond two half-lives

P. B. Pettitt, W. Davies, C. S. Gamble, M. B. Richards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

111 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

It is now three decades since Waterbolk introduced evaluation criteria to 14C chronology. Despite this, and other subsequent attempts to introduce quality control in the use of 14C data, no systematic procedure has been adopted by the archaeological community. As a result, our databases may be significantly weakened by questionable dates and/or questionable associations between dated samples and the archaeological phenomena they are intended to represent. As the use of chronometric data in general becomes more ambitious, we must pause and assess how reliable these data are. Here, we forward a set of evaluation criteria which take into account archaeological (e.g. associational, stratigraphic) and chronometric (e.g. pre-treatment and measurement) criteria. We intend to use such criteria to evaluate a large 14C dataset we have assembled to investigate Late Glacial settlement in Europe, the Near East and North Africa, supported by the Leverhulme Trust. We suggest that the procedure presented here may at least form the basis of the development of more rigorous, scientific use of 14C dates.

LanguageEnglish
Pages1685-1693
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Volume30
Issue number12
Early online date23 Jul 2003
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003

Fingerprint

confidence
North Africa
East Africa
quality control
evaluation
Palaeolithic
Radiocarbon Chronology
Half-life
Confidence
community
Archaeology
Evaluation

Cite this

Pettitt, P. B. ; Davies, W. ; Gamble, C. S. ; Richards, M. B. / Palaeolithic radiocarbon chronology : Quantifying our confidence beyond two half-lives. In: Journal of Archaeological Science. 2003 ; Vol. 30, No. 12. pp. 1685-1693.
@article{284499f01bf24ea391d171a7746e2e63,
title = "Palaeolithic radiocarbon chronology: Quantifying our confidence beyond two half-lives",
abstract = "It is now three decades since Waterbolk introduced evaluation criteria to 14C chronology. Despite this, and other subsequent attempts to introduce quality control in the use of 14C data, no systematic procedure has been adopted by the archaeological community. As a result, our databases may be significantly weakened by questionable dates and/or questionable associations between dated samples and the archaeological phenomena they are intended to represent. As the use of chronometric data in general becomes more ambitious, we must pause and assess how reliable these data are. Here, we forward a set of evaluation criteria which take into account archaeological (e.g. associational, stratigraphic) and chronometric (e.g. pre-treatment and measurement) criteria. We intend to use such criteria to evaluate a large 14C dataset we have assembled to investigate Late Glacial settlement in Europe, the Near East and North Africa, supported by the Leverhulme Trust. We suggest that the procedure presented here may at least form the basis of the development of more rigorous, scientific use of 14C dates.",
keywords = "C, Chronometry, Late Glacial, Palaeolithic, Radiocarbon",
author = "Pettitt, {P. B.} and W. Davies and Gamble, {C. S.} and Richards, {M. B.}",
year = "2003",
month = "12",
doi = "10.1016/S0305-4403(03)00070-0",
language = "English",
volume = "30",
pages = "1685--1693",
journal = "Journal of Archaeological Science",
issn = "0305-4403",
publisher = "Academic Press Inc.",
number = "12",

}

Palaeolithic radiocarbon chronology : Quantifying our confidence beyond two half-lives. / Pettitt, P. B.; Davies, W.; Gamble, C. S.; Richards, M. B.

In: Journal of Archaeological Science, Vol. 30, No. 12, 12.2003, p. 1685-1693.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Palaeolithic radiocarbon chronology

T2 - Journal of Archaeological Science

AU - Pettitt, P. B.

AU - Davies, W.

AU - Gamble, C. S.

AU - Richards, M. B.

PY - 2003/12

Y1 - 2003/12

N2 - It is now three decades since Waterbolk introduced evaluation criteria to 14C chronology. Despite this, and other subsequent attempts to introduce quality control in the use of 14C data, no systematic procedure has been adopted by the archaeological community. As a result, our databases may be significantly weakened by questionable dates and/or questionable associations between dated samples and the archaeological phenomena they are intended to represent. As the use of chronometric data in general becomes more ambitious, we must pause and assess how reliable these data are. Here, we forward a set of evaluation criteria which take into account archaeological (e.g. associational, stratigraphic) and chronometric (e.g. pre-treatment and measurement) criteria. We intend to use such criteria to evaluate a large 14C dataset we have assembled to investigate Late Glacial settlement in Europe, the Near East and North Africa, supported by the Leverhulme Trust. We suggest that the procedure presented here may at least form the basis of the development of more rigorous, scientific use of 14C dates.

AB - It is now three decades since Waterbolk introduced evaluation criteria to 14C chronology. Despite this, and other subsequent attempts to introduce quality control in the use of 14C data, no systematic procedure has been adopted by the archaeological community. As a result, our databases may be significantly weakened by questionable dates and/or questionable associations between dated samples and the archaeological phenomena they are intended to represent. As the use of chronometric data in general becomes more ambitious, we must pause and assess how reliable these data are. Here, we forward a set of evaluation criteria which take into account archaeological (e.g. associational, stratigraphic) and chronometric (e.g. pre-treatment and measurement) criteria. We intend to use such criteria to evaluate a large 14C dataset we have assembled to investigate Late Glacial settlement in Europe, the Near East and North Africa, supported by the Leverhulme Trust. We suggest that the procedure presented here may at least form the basis of the development of more rigorous, scientific use of 14C dates.

KW - C

KW - Chronometry

KW - Late Glacial

KW - Palaeolithic

KW - Radiocarbon

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0344100054&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/S0305-4403(03)00070-0

DO - 10.1016/S0305-4403(03)00070-0

M3 - Article

VL - 30

SP - 1685

EP - 1693

JO - Journal of Archaeological Science

JF - Journal of Archaeological Science

SN - 0305-4403

IS - 12

ER -