PPND - the Platform for Neolithic Radiocarbon Dates


30°39'39'' N    35°27'20.67'' E   Download OxCal File


The radiocarbon dates of Wadi Faynan 16 were discussed so thoroughly by Mithen and Finlayson (2007) that it will suffice here simply to summarize their results. Four new dates from a large communal structure, recently published by Finalysen et al. (2011a), fall roughly into the same ranges. However, the stratigraphic relation of these dates to the other ones has not been published so far.

The oldest set of dates, 10500-9800 BC, is documented by eight charcoal samples from all three excavation areas. Six of these eight samples are juniper, a shrub that can become very old. The material of the remaining two samples is not known. The authors conclude that the dates of these samples are too old and therefore an occupation during the Younger Dryas is not indicated. They suggest an adjustment for the dates for the juniper samples of about 500-1000 years lower. Stratigraphic associations with layers that are radiocarbon dated to about 9400 BC or younger support this suggestion. However, it should be mentioned that in Trenches 2 and 3 the juniper is in fact from of the oldest layers and in both cases associated with burials. Two samples from a basal posthole and the fill of a hearth of a large, probably communal, structure  (O75) are nearly as old as the juniper samples. The ranges of these dates are between 9760 BC and 9280 BC (95,4%) (Finlayson et al. 2011a:4; for a reconsideration of the old wood thesis of juniper see also Finalyson et al. 2011b, argueing for the start of the occupation at WF 16 during the Younger Dryas).

According to the authors, the dates from about 9400 BC down are of the earliest settlement phase. These six dates range between 9390 BC and 9280 BC. Stratigraphicly associated with this chronological phase are the much older dates of context 332 and the much younger, but probably dislocated, date WF 32801 (8460-8300 BC).

During the second archaeological phase, the settlement was possibly abandoned. However, the barley seed sample WF 1622 (9310-8810 BC) of context 239 dates to this phase, and the much older juniper date WF 1625 dating to the Younger Dryas comes from the same stratigraphic layer. This phase was not documented within Trench 3. A further sample of O75 (Beta 253739) is dated to this range too.

The next occupational stage, Phase 3, is synchronized by the excavators with the date of the bromus seed WF 1623. Phase 3 also is dated by two charcoal samples, WF 64 and WF 65, from context 112 and 111 of Trench 1. The sum of these three dates ranges between 8760 BC and 8630 BC. One sample from O75 (Beta 271680) is in good agreement with these dates. Discarded as too old were charcoal sample, WF 168, dating to about 10 000 BC, but from the same layer as the bromus seed, and charcoal sample, WF 163, of the same context as WF 164 but dated to 9260-8940 BC.

The dates for the most recent stage, Phase 4, only come from Trench 3 and are between 8440 BC and 8280 BC. [1]

If the dates of the old wood were indeed discarded completely (see Mithen, Finlayson 2007:469), the remaining dates, would suggest four phases, of which three would parallel the PPNA of the northern Levant and the youngest parallel the early PPNB.

The dating of the burials is difficult because both are associated with radiocarbon dates of the Younger Dryas, but both samples were of juniper and the sample from Trench 2 seems associated with the Phase I of around 9400 BC. However, an occupation before the Holocene cannot be ruled out. The high number of microliths (N=85) in Wadi Faynan 16 compared to other “PPNA”-sites of the southern Levant would support this suggestion (Sayej 2004: 215). Perhaps old material was dislocated by the excavation of the burial pits and then used for refilling the grave. In a more recent publication, Finalyson et al. (2011b) schedule the beginning of the occupation into the Younger Dryas.

[1] WF 32801 was probably dislocated but its C-14 value corresponds well to the date of WF 1624. It thus can be used to date Phase 4.

14C Dates

 Code  BP Dev. Δ13C Location material References
Beta 120204 13010 50 Trench 1, 110 SH Mithen, Finlayson 2007:461
Beta-120205 9690 50 Trench 1, 111 CH wood, indet Mithen, Finlayson 2007:461
Beta-120206 9420 50 Trench 1, 111 CH wood, indet Mithen, Finlayson 2007:461
Beta-120207 9400 50 Trench 1, 112 CH wood, indet Mithen, Finlayson 2007:461
Beta-120208 12830 50 Trench 1, 112 SH Mithen, Finlayson 2007:461
Beta-120209 11830 50 Trench 1, 114 SH Mithen, Finlayson 2007:461
Beta-120210 10190 50 Trench 2, 210 CH wood indet. Mithen, Finlayson 2007:461
Beta-120211 9890 50 Trench 2, 211 CH wood indet Mithen, Finlayson 2007:461
Beta-135110 9180 50 Trench 3, 329 CH wood indet. Mithen, Finlayson 2007:461
Beta-135111 10220 50 Trench 3, 332 CH wood indet. Mithen, Finlayson 2007:461
Beta-192520 9900 40 Trench 1, 126 CH wood (ficus sp.) Mithen, Finlayson 2007:461
Beta-192521 10500 40 Trench 1, 130 CH wood (cupressaceae) Mithen, Finlayson 2007:461
Beta-192522 9880 40 Trench 1, 148 CH wood (tamarix sp.) Mithen, Finlayson 2007:461
Beta-192523 9920 40 Trench 1, 151 CH wood (ficus sp.) Mithen, Finlayson 2007:461
Beta-192524 10150 40 Trench 2, 232 CH wood (cupressaecea) Mithen, Finlayson 2007:461
Beta-192525 10350 40 Trench 2, 239 CH, wood (cupressaceae) Mithen, Finlayson 2007:461
Beta-192526 10420 40 Trench 2, 241 CH wood (cupressaceae) Mithen, Finlayson 2007:461
Beta-192527 10440 40 Trench 2, 243 CH wood (cupressaceae) Mithen, Finlayson 2007:461
Beta-192529 9870 40 Trench 3, 330 CH wood indet. Mithen, Finlayson 2007:461
Beta-192530 10340 40 Trench 3, 332 CH wood (cupressaceae) Mithen, Finlayson 2007:461
Beta-192531 9950 40 Trench 3, 327 CH wood (tamarix) Mithen, Finlayson 2007:461
Beta-208671 9560 40 Trench 2, 239 S (Barley) Mithen, Finlayson 2007:461
Beta-208672 9430 40 Trench 2, 238 S (Bromus) Mithen, Finlayson 2007:461
Beta-209010 9140 40 Trench 3, 310 CH wood indet. Mithen, Finlayson 2007:461
Beta-253738 9950 70 340: Fill of hearth within midden in O75. twig, tamarix Finalyson et al. 2011a
Beta-253739 9660 70 340: Fill of hearth within midden in O75 twig, tamarix Finlayson et al. 2011a
Beta-271680 9380 60 747: Fill of hearth cut into secondary floor surface, O75 twig, possibly Salicaceae Finlayson et al. 2011a:4
Beta-271681 9940 60 757:Fill of basal posthole, O75. unident. twig Finlayson et al. 2011a:4



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Fig. 1 Compilation of calibrated dates of WF 16, arranged as to context and dates. It illustrates well the probable dislocations and the old-wood-effect for some of the charcoal dates.

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