PPND - the Platform for Neolithic Radiocarbon Dates


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The radiocarbon dates of Qermez Dere can be separated in two main phases: the time horizon of the late Younger Dryas between 10050-9650 BC, and a later phase between 9260-8840 BC.[1] One very old date, Oxa 3753: 12010-11800 BC, was not considered because the material of the sample was part of the same collection of charred seeds as the younger date OxA 3752: 10050-9660 BC (67.2%). There is no plausible explanation for such different results; but because the younger date matches the typological development better, the older date has been discarded.

Although the date Oxa 3756: 10050-9450 BC from the southern part of the excavation does not fit its stratigraphic position, it overlaps with the date OxA 3752 very well and was therefore added to the sum of the older phase.

The youngest date comes from the fill of the houses and provides a terminus ante quem for their building phases. However, it must be stressed that the upper layers of Qermez Dere were not dated and it is therefore not certain when the site was finally abandoned for good.

Though the excavators suggest a rapid succession of occupational phases (Watkins 1995:29), the radiocarbon dates attest two distinct phases. These two phases should be tested with the lithic material; but the beginning of the First Golf War prevented further analyses of the lithic material of the northern part of the site, from where the oldest dates come (cf. Watkins 1995:19; 31). The upper layers show some minor changes in flint industry; but according to the excavators, “the whole assemblage remains essentially homogeneous throughout” (Watkins 1995:17; 20-21).

Nevertheless the geology and the stratigraphy of the site, as well as the observed changes of building techniques, support two phases, with the settlement starting in the northern part while the southern part was first used as a dump and only later for occupation (Watkins 1995:26;31).

[1] Σ of the older phase: 10050-9650 BC (63.8%), 9600-9550 BC (3.2%), 9500-9450 BC (1.3%). Σ of the younger phase: 9260-9110 BC (31.5%), 9080-9050 BC (3.5%), 9020-8840 BC (33.3%).

14C Dates

 Code  BP Dev. Δ13C Location material References
OxA 3752 10145 90 CBR lower layers, same sample as OxA 3753 (2:29) S (Lens sp.) Archaeometry 38,1,1996
OxA 3753 11990 100 CBR lower layers, same sample as OxA 3752; collection of seed fragments (2:29) S Watkins 1995
OxA 3754 9580 95 RCK 501.1. S (Lens sp.) Archaeometry 38,1,1996
OxA 3755 9710 85 RDI stratigraphically identical with RM S (Lens sp.) Archaeometry 38,1,1996
OxA 3756 10115 95 RDM above RDN S (Vicieae) Archaeometry 38,1,1996
OxA 3757 9640 85 RDN below RDM S (Lens sp.) Archaeometry 38,1,1996



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