Developing a radiocarbon-based chronology for Tel Azekah: the first stage
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 00:57 authored by Lyndelle Webster
The need for more systematic, integrated use of radiocarbon dating within excavations of ancient Near Eastern sites for historical periods is well recognised. This thesis presents the first stage in developing an independent radiocarbon-based chronology for the site of Tel Azekah, Israel. Fifteen short-lived samples collected over three excavation seasons have been dated, deriving from Middle Bronze through to Hellenistic contexts. The results of this initial dataset, together with radiocarbon-specific fieldwork, have contributed to developing an effective methodology and working procedures for ongoing research.Targeted collection of datable material commenced in the 2015 excavation season, facilitated by a field role specific to radiocarbon research. The first radiocarbon dataset for Tel Azekah focuses on the site’s peak period of occupation – the Late Bronze Age. A sequence of samples allowed a major public building to be dated close to the first half of the 12th century BCE, with comparisons drawn to radiocarbon-dated strata of other sites. The sequence offers excellent potential for improvement and expansion in future research. A tentative date for a Middle Bronze destruction was obtained, which is consistent with a wider regional pattern. This research has placed some initial ‘pegs’ for the site’s absolute chronology, and helped to set directions for the next stages of work. It has highlighted well the benefits of involving radiocarbon dating as an active part of archaeological interpretation.