RADIOCARBON CHRONOLOGY OF CORDED WARE CULTURE IN THE LIGHT OF DENDROCHRONOLOGICAL DATINGS OF LATE NEOLITHIC LAKE DWELLINGS IN SWITZERLAND
The radiocarbon dating is the main way of determining the absolute age of Corded Ware Culture (CWC). The dominating models based on calibrated dating characterized by considerably differing interpretations due to the diverse approaches to the calibration and sample quality. The character of the calibration curve sets considerable limitations on the precise determination of calendar age. Precise age determination is sometimes impossible within a range of hundreds of years. The origins of CWC settlement, defined most often as between 2900 and 2750 B.C., falls in the time of an exceptionally vast flattening of the curve (2880-2580 B.C.). The choice of particular dates in this three-hundred-year range is the effect of an archaeologist's estimate without grounds in radiocarbon dating. The last resort for precising of the age of the oldest phase of CWC is - dendrochronological dating. Summing up, the main characteristics of the dendrochronological model include: 1. short duration of CWC (ca. 300 years); 2. a disjunctiveness of the said culture from the age of older and younger culture groups; 3. dated ceramic assemblages reveal both an enduring tradition of chosen older ceramic types and a fast pace of stylistic changes. Three clear stylistic phases are in evidence. On the other hand, the CWC chronology based on radiocarbon dates is characterized by: 1. long duration of the culture; 2. long spans of contemporaneous existence of CWC settlement and other Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age cultures; 3. with regard to the ceramic assemblages, a frequently observed 'longevity' of examined stylistic types. The scale of the listed differences forces one to consider the possibility of two such separate realities. The quality and accuracy of the data call for greater credibility being granted to the dendrochronological datings and for comparing other areas to it. However, an automatic transfer of the cultural-chronological situation from one area to all the others is impossible for obvious reasons. Nonetheless, supraregional stylistic trends, characteristic of a 'pan-European horizon', for example, can be dated similarly with considerable likelihood. On the other hand, all the late local CWC groups, which also do not reveal in artefact typology any connections with Swiss territory, cannot be reliably synchronized by the radiocarbon method. It cannot be assumed in advance that the decline of CWC style occurred at a similar time in all of the areas. The chronologies based on separate dating systems feature one other fundamental difference. The dendrochronological model for the subalpine regions contains numerous time gaps between the settlement of particular cultural groups in specific territories. The nature of potential settlement is questioned for periods for which there are no dated records. The less precise 14C datings give rise to models assuming the longevity and connection between the settlement cultural units. There are no time gaps potentially existing between the age of finds to be observed based on a 14C chronology. The separate dating methods implicate a different approach and remains uncertainty caused by the possibility of such deep differences of the chronological-cultural model existing in reality. The solution is obtaining material for dendrochronological studies from central and northern Europe. 14 Figures.
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