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AMS radiocarbon dating from the Neolithic of eastern Ukraine casts doubts on existing chronologies

Lillie, Malcolm; Motuzaite-Matuzeviciute, Giedre; Telizhenko, Sergey

Authors

Professor Malcolm Lillie M.C.Lillie@hull.ac.uk
Professor in Prehistoric Archaeology and Wetland Science/ Programme Lead: BSc Archaeology & Environments, BA Archaeology & Human Geography

Giedre Motuzaite-Matuzeviciute

Sergey Telizhenko

Abstract

The Seversky Donets River (Northern Donets) basin in eastern Ukraine and the Lower Don River valley in Russia were inhabited by populations that have been considered to be one of the earliest pottery-using cultures in Europe. The early pottery sites are all located on riverbanks and contain middens with many mollusk shells and fish bones. This suggests the intense exploitation of freshwater resources. The accuracy of radiocarbon dates obtained from these locations is of crucial importance for understanding the development of new technologies, diversification of the food consumed and its preparation strategies, as well as the degree of sedentism in this region, associated with the beginnings of pottery-making technology. The chronology of Neolithic sites in this region, however, was developed on the basis of 14C dates commonly obtained through the dating of freshwater mollusk shells, pottery with mollusk shell temper, or organic residue on pottery shards. Such samples are potentially affected by the freshwater reservoir effect, raising concerns about the accuracy of those dates. This paper presents accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) 14C dates from a small pilot study from sites in eastern Ukraine in order to test for the presence of the reservoir effect in this region. The AMS 14C dates presented in this paper challenge the 14C chronology based on mollusk shell or organic residue, which appears to generate much older dates than those on wood charcoal or terrestrial animal bone.

Publication Date Jan 1, 2015
Journal Radiocarbon
Print ISSN 0033-8222
Electronic ISSN 1945-5755
Publisher Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 57
Issue 4
Pages 657-664
Institution Citation Lillie, M., Motuzaite-Matuzeviciute, G., & Telizhenko, S. (2015). AMS radiocarbon dating from the Neolithic of eastern Ukraine casts doubts on existing chronologies. Radiocarbon, 57(4), 657-664. https://doi.org/10.2458/azu_rc.57.18438
DOI https://doi.org/10.2458/azu_rc.57.18438
Keywords Reservoir effect, Mollusc dating, Eastern Ukraine, Neolithic
Publisher URL https://journals.uair.arizona.edu/index.php/radiocarbon/article/view/18438
Copyright Statement © 2015 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona
Additional Information This is a copy of an article published in Radiocarbon, 2014, v.57 issue 4.

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Copyright Statement
© 2015 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona



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