old dating advice - Typological dating

Our ability to choose between or improve on the competing social models remains constrained by the lack of a comprehensive 14C chronology for the Danebury sites.

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As well as clarifying the relationship between the hillfort and other sites in its environs, the results will provide a basis for reassessing the chronology of the southern British Iron Age and for rethinking social and cultural links between this region and the rest of Britain, as well as across the Channel.

Another aim is to explore the use of Bayesian approaches for building better chronologies for the earlier Iron Age, hitherto plagued by the 800–400 BC plateau.

2011) and bone and antler tools (Bonsall and Smith 1990; Elliott 2013) has revealed the potential for obtaining new evidence from old collections; a similar project is urgently needed to improve dating of settlements.

New dating programmes will take us only so far though: the vast majority of Mesolithic sites lack organic remains suitable for dating.

Similar14C dating programmes have already altered our understanding of other periods of British and world prehistory, as well as individual sites such as Stonehenge.

The current project is seen as a step on the way to putting Iron Age chronologies on a firmer footing. Hillforts are the most iconic monuments surviving from Iron Age Britain, dominating academic and public perceptions of the period.

This meant that the resulting radiocarbon date would be an average of the dates of all the fragments of material in the sample and potentially reflect the actual age of none of them.

Similarly, the large amount of material needed for dating meant that in practice there was rarely any sample choice, simply those few samples of organic material that were large enough had to be submitted for radiocarbon dating.

14C dating was long neglected, because it was thought to allow less precision than artefact dating and because of the ‘Hallstatt plateau’ between 800–400 BC. This has created gaps in the familiar sequence, with knock-on consequences for the models that govern our perceptions of Iron Age societies (Barrett et al. An example is the 2nd to 1st century BC void identified by 14C dating of the metalwork that underpins the pottery typologies used to date most settlements.

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