Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


25 December 2014

Radiocarbon and the date of the Thera eruption

Manfred Bietak Antiquity 88:339 (March 2014), 277-282

From the introduction

The criticism of the date of the olive tree branch from Thera offered by Cherubini et al (above) has to be fiilly supported. The attribution of the branch in question to the late part of the seventeenth century BC is by itself not unexpected, as most of the other radiocarbon dates of short-lived samples from the site of Akrotiri fall into the second half of that century. The attempt to produce a wiggle-match drawn from a succession of non-existent tree-rings in this branch, and to fit such a result into the general calibration curve to give the illusion of precision, however, does not pass the scientific test. Olive trees do not develop annual tree-rings. Furthermore, no proof could be produced that this branch was alive during the eruption.


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