Tiziano Fantuzzi

Post Doc Student, UCLouvain (CEMA-INCAL)

Chronology - Radiocarbon dating - Ceramic seriation -Correspondence Analysis - Environmental Archaeology

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Research Project

My present research focuses on the combination of archaeological ceramic seriation trhough Correspondence Analysis (CA) with radiocarbon dating, applied to the case-study of the Minoan eruption and Late Minoan I A chronology. The absolute chronology of the Late Minoan IA eruption of the Santorini/Thera volcano is a pivotal point for the study of the entire eastern Mediterranean Bronze Age. Since the 1970s, the traditional, archaeo-historical based chronology has been questioned by the analysis of radiocarbon measurements from Thera and elsewhere in the eastern Mediterranean, while the recent publication of the new annual-resolution section of the calibration curve IntCal20 for the 1700-1500 BCE period has shown that remaining uncertainties affect the arguments for both the archeo-historical-based 'Low' chronology – with the eruption event in the last decades of the 16th century BCE, and the radiocarbon-based 'High' chronology, which sets the eruption event some 100-120 years earlier – i.e. in the second half of the 17th century BCE.

The combination of archaeological Correspondence Analysis (CA)-based pottery seriation and 14C dating represents a highly promising alternative as the fundamental problem in the application of 14C-based dating methodologies is that, due to the strongly oscillating structure of the tree-ring calibration curve and interlaboratory error, a multitude of different possible calibrated dates exists. In contrast, by applying CA to pottery assemblages, and in particular from the recent excavations at Sissi (as well as from other major sites, as Knossos and Kommos), it will be possible to achieve a variety of new chronological insights, which are independent from the oscillations in the calibration curve. The final step in CA-dating is to provide a relative sequence-scale with an absolute time-scale, and this can be obtained by the 14C-dating of samples that have well-defined CA-positions. The combination of the two methods will allow for a solid revision of the longstanding question of the date of the Minoan eruption, while also providing a solid and widely available methodology for combined archaeological-radiocarbon dating studies that can be applied in other chrono-spatial areas.