3.0 Dating

3.1 Method and Results

The radiocarbon dating strategy was aimed at testing the hypothesis that the site was a short term camp that had been used for short stays infrequently over decades rather than a long term occupation. As the mesolithic artefact assemblage only gives a very broad dating, radiocarbon provided the only means of getting a more precise date for the site.

Carbonised hazelnut shells were chosen as the material to be dated because they occurred in most of the fills and it was felt that they were likely to be roughly contemporary with their contexts. As there was a possibility that younger and older material could be mixed giving a spurious average date, two single shell fragments from each context were AMS dated (see radiocarbon dating). To reduce the possibility of dating intrusive material from above, the largest two shell fragments from each context were taken.

Samples from seven contexts were selected for dating; the upper (F40) and lower (F45) fills of pit F41; the occupation layer F46; the fills of pits F61 and F70; and of two pits in the arc, F63 and F84. These contexts represented a sample of all major features on the site and thus tested the hypothesis that all elements were contemporary. The dating results are shown in Table 2 below:

Lab. no: Feature: Uncalibrated date (years BP):
AA-25202 F83-B 8275±65
AA-25203 F83-A 8340±60
AA-25204 F69-B 8505±75
AA-25205 F69-A 8405±60
AA-25206 F62-B 8355±60
AA-25207 F62-A 8420±65
AA-25208 F60-B 8510±70
AA-25209 F60-A 8475±75
AA-25210 F46-B 8410±60
AA-25211 F46-A 8460±85
AA-25212 F45-B 8545±65
AA-25213 F45-A 8495±65
AA-25214 F40-B 8510±65
AA-25215 F40-A 8490±60

Table 2: Uncalibrated radiocarbon dates

The Student-t test was applied to the set of dates to test whether their variable age was significant and reflected a true age difference between the samples, or whether it could be ascribed to statistical variation. The test suggested that there was no significant difference between the dates despite the 270 radiocarbon years difference between the oldest date and the youngest.


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Last updated: Wed Sep 30 1998