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Time Framing Early Medieval Stone Building North of the Alps-A Discussion of Recent Challenging Results

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sophie HueglinORCiD


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© 2017 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona. Early Medieval stone building began earlier and was more widespread than previously thought. This conclusion is the result of scientific dating that challenges traditional views of the petrification process in architecture north of the Alps after the Roman period. Radiocarbon (14C) dating is not precise enough to answer detailed questions connected to historical contexts, but recently there have been a number of surprising dates: Roman city walls have now Early Medieval phases or meter-high, obscure dark earth strata were subdivided and dated. Results not in line with clients' expectations can be the subject of heated debates, or worse, tend to remain unpublished. To the archaeologist, who is trying to connect scientific dates with historical events, usually is not clear, that mortar dating is a methodology still being developed, while dating organic material like charcoal from mortar is a standard procedure. But even the latter has downfalls like the possible old-wood-effect, if such complications are not carefully considered and avoided during the sampling process. Drawing on examples from Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and France, recent challenging results will be discussed from an archaeologist's point of view.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hueglin S

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 8th Radiocarbon & Archaeology Symposium

Year of Conference: 2017

Pages: 1657-1675

Online publication date: 05/12/2017

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/RDC.2017.135

Series Title: Radiocarbon