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C14 plateau affects Stonehenge dating

14 December 2012

Mike Parker-Pearson, on page 344 of his 2012 book, Stonehenge, says that when all sorts of things were going on, between 2470 and 2280BC, we are unable to precisely date the sequence of events as the calibration curve flattens out at this point in time. It is more or less impossible to get a single date any more precise than the broad 190 year plateau. We cannot be certain of the order in which things happened. Right on the button, somewhere within this plateau, is the low growth tree ring event Mike Baillie dates to 2345BC – central in the thrust of the series of SIS articles we have published by the late Moe Mandelkehr.

However, two events are associated elsewhere with the end of the Early Bronze Age in Sumeria, Egypt and the Levant, separated by around 150 to 200 years. In i) Sumeria = end of Early Dynastic III and end of Akkad, and ii) in Egypt end of dynasty 5 and dynasty 6, and iii) in the Levant end of Early Bronze III and IV. In Britain the C14 plateau is marked by the end of the Neolithic era, followed by the so called Copper Age, and again, followed by the Early Bronze Age (until around 1600BC). Now, looking at Stonehenge we might ask ourselves – is the plateau in C14 levels (an increase or a double increase episodes) as a result of two events. Why do plateaus in C14 appear to congregate near anomalous events such as narrow growth tree ring clusters? This is especially noticeable at i) the Younger Dryas boundary event, 13,000 years ago, the end of the Ice Age, anywhere between 18,000 and 15,000 years ago, and iii) the mass die off event somewhere between 40,000 and 30,000 years ago. This plateau is so big nothing prior to it can be dated by the C14 methodology. It would actually be useful to have a catalogue of C14 plateaus as they persisted right through the Holocene period. For instance, around 800BC, and C14 dates in the Late Roman period have thrown up several archaeological inconsistencies etc.

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