At the 2014 ASOR Annual Meeting, Cameron A. Petrie of the University of Cambridge, volunteered to present his paper for ASORtv. “Radiocarbon Dating the Fourth and Third Millennia BCE in Iran: Lessons Learned from the ARCANE Project,” was the third presentation during the Archaeology of Iran I session on Saturday morning. The theme of the session was synoptic studies in Iranian archaeology. Petrie’s paper uses the ARCANE project’s research to take a look at some problems involving radiocarbon dates collected for the fourth and third millennia BCE. You can watch his full presentation below, as well as read his abstract.
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Radiocarbon Dating the Fourth and Third Millennia BCE in Iran: Lessons Learned from the ARCANE Project
There are an impressive number of radiocarbon determinations for the fourth and third millennia BCE in Iran, but these dates come from a relatively small number of excavated sites across Iran. The majority of the samples come from older excavations, and many are problematic in terms of their stratigraphic integrity. There are also shortcomings with some of the earlier analyses, in particular the high measurement errors for many samples. Most of the more recent excavations have seen increased focus on the retrieval of high-resolution absolute dates from samples collected from stratigraphically secure contexts, but almost all of the samples that have been analyzed are wood charcoal, which means that there is no guarantee that short-lived material has been dated. This paper will review the research on radiocarbon dates carried out for the ARCANE project, which has highlighted the major constraints to compiling a comprehensive absolute dating record for Iran in the period of interest. It has nonetheless revealed a number of important dynamics in the radiocarbon evidence that is available, and highlighted areas for future research that are worthy of further exploration.
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