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14C Mortar Dating: The Case of the Medieval Shayzar Citadel, Syria

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 February 2016

Sara Nonni*
Affiliation:
University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Earth Sciences, 000185 Rome, Italy Centre for Isotopic Research on Cultural and Environmental Heritage, INNOVA, 81020 San Nicola La Strada, Caserta, Italy
Fabio Marzaioli
Affiliation:
Centre for Isotopic Research on Cultural and Environmental Heritage, INNOVA, 81020 San Nicola La Strada, Caserta, Italy Second University of Naples, Department of Mathematics and Physics, 81100 Caserta, Italy
Michele Secco
Affiliation:
University of Padua, Department of Geosciences, 35131 Padua, Italy
Isabella Passariello
Affiliation:
Centre for Isotopic Research on Cultural and Environmental Heritage, INNOVA, 81020 San Nicola La Strada, Caserta, Italy
Manuela Capano
Affiliation:
Centre for Isotopic Research on Cultural and Environmental Heritage, INNOVA, 81020 San Nicola La Strada, Caserta, Italy Second University of Naples, Department of Letters and Cultural Heritage, 81055 Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Caserta, Italy
Carmine Lubritto
Affiliation:
Centre for Isotopic Research on Cultural and Environmental Heritage, INNOVA, 81020 San Nicola La Strada, Caserta, Italy Second University of Naples, Department of Environmental, Biological and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technologies, 81100 Caserta, Italy
Silvano Mignardi
Affiliation:
University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Earth Sciences, 000185 Rome, Italy
Cristina Tonghini
Affiliation:
University of Venice Ca'Foscari, Department of Studies on Asia and Mediterranean Africa, 30125 Venice, Italy
Filippo Terrasi
Affiliation:
University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Earth Sciences, 000185 Rome, Italy Centre for Isotopic Research on Cultural and Environmental Heritage, INNOVA, 81020 San Nicola La Strada, Caserta, Italy
*
3Corresponding author. Email: sara.nonni@uniroma1.it.

Abstract

This paper reports the results from applying the Cryo2SoniC (Cryobreaking, Sonication, Centrifugation) protocol to some lime mortars sampled from the citadel of Shayzar (Syria). The overall aims of this project are 1) to use the properties offered by high-precision accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dating for the evaluation of absolute chronology with its typical robust time constraints (i.e. 25 14C yr), and 2) to apply the dating directly to the citadel structures in order to prevent possible biasing effects potentially affecting indirect 14C dating on organic materials found at the study site. The analyses presented in this paper have been mainly performed as a preliminary check of the Cryo2SoniC methodology in order to assess its applicability to this study site by comparing observed mortar results with archaeological expectations about the citadel development phasing and charcoals found encased in mortars. Petrographic and mineralogical thin-section analyses by optical microscopy (TSOM), X-ray powder diffraction (XRD), and scanning electron microscopy plus energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS) investigations were carried out for characterization of the mortar samples to verify the occurrence of some features, related to their production technology, which may introduce dating offsets. The resulting 14C calibrated ages were in agreement with the archaeological expectations based on type and stratigraphic site reconstructions, in situ inscriptions, and written sources. Such results showed also a general (with 1 exception) statistical agreement among the charcoals and the analyzed mortars simultaneously, confirming the archaeological expectations for the Shayzar citadel. Results presented in this paper indicate good accuracy for the applied procedure for chronology reconstruction and highlight the capability of Cryo2SoniC to further characterize the Shayzar site.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona 

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