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2, Urban Archaeology (Oct., 1970), pp. 199-211 Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/124132 Accessed: 28/03/2010 10:58
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In I960 the problem was ingeniously investigated by workers in several laboratories (Willis. observed. Samples were drilled from different tree rings along the radius of a sectioned trunk of Sequoiagigantea. perhaps five centuries too old at 5. in those regions where the latter are available.New configurations Old Worldarchaeology in Colin Renfrew Recent developments in radiocarbon dating now show that our conventional dates for the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age periods of Europe are wildly wrong.000 years ago may be somewhat too old. Their very magnitude highlights. argued on archaeological as well as physical grounds (Kohler and Ralph I96I). 1859. wondering whether the conventional historical chronology for Egypt might not be too long (Hayes.D. This is what Libby himself first tended to assume. did not solve the problem.000 years ago. even on this limited time scale. We now realize that it is the radiocarbon dates which are too short. Tauber and Miinnich I960). the atmospheric radiocarbon concentration had undergone some variation.000 years ago' (I963: 279). and clearly. The tree-ring age (assuming the growth rings were annual) could then be compared with the radiocarbon age as determined from the same rings. . in the last section an attempt is made to draw a moral. Similar changes are seen in other regions. have been working. The discrepancy prompted some heart-searching among Egyptologists (see Smith I964). Systematic small fluctuations were. . Willard Libby wrote on this topic: '. several inadequacies in the way we. and what their effect is likely to be on European chronology. The present paper tries first to outline how these changes arise. had ended before the latter began. plots of the data suggest that the Egyptian historic dates beyond 4. In some cases indeed the new dates significantly alter the chronological relationship between one area and another. however. Rowton and Stubbings I962). The Wessex culture of south Britain. however. and the C14 and tree-ring dates were in good agreement to within about I -5 %. formerly dated to the period of the Mycenaean civilization of Greece. with a decrease in error to o at 4. Tree rings and Old World chronology For some years it has been clear that there is a serious discrepancy between radiocarbon and historical dates. for example.D. In I963. Even the adoption of a longer half-life for radiocarbon. The time range investigated was from A. 659 to A. as prehistorians.
ZZ- 0 Q) a) 0 a) u. following Suess.900 years old has been reported.-___ -.o00 years.including the archaeological conclusions. a fantastically long-lived tree. The next stage is the radiocarbon dating of samples from the actual dated treerings. the bristlecone pine has transformed dendrochronological studies. Arizona. A tree 4.. in some years there is no growth ring at all. of course. but to the archaeologist the work certainly seems eminently methodical and systematic. Although bristlecone pines only very rarely have more than one growth ring per year.ooo to 3. . in a relatively arid environment.500 m. at Tucson (Damon. be followed by a suggested date in calendaryears) life. a) " / . A sound chronology involves a prodigious labour in cross-dating the sequences between one tree and another. and up to 5 % of the rings may be 'missing'. principally at the Laboratory for Tree-Ring Research at Tucson.Note that several different calendardates may be obtained from a single radiocarbondate. C) -1 t /0 ~- -- -~ZZZ_IIZ. . but the radiocarbon date. This work has been undertaken by three laboratories.568 halfsupposedly 'calibrated' this may. - > --. . all equally valid. The assessment of the bristlecone dendrochronology is a matter for botanists.. C c a) ia <z g_. Schulman and Ferguson (Ferguson 1968) realized the unique potential of the Californian bristlecone pine (Pinus aristata). 0) c 0 3000 BC Conventional 2000 BC Radiocarbon yearsh (5568 alflife) ______ 2000 BC 3000 BC Conventional Radiocarbonyears (5568 half-life) Figure 21 Calibrationchart. 0 "II ICoo 0 0 a.' ' --. Growing at elevations of 3.. and upon its validity rests all further work . Long Q(n( Pr' OUUU D 2000 BC _ _ . and the continuous tree-ring chronology goes back 7. . for the conversion of radiocarbondates into calendardates on the basis of bristlecone pine dendrochronology. on the 5. (At present dates should not be quoted.200 Colin Renfrew Further advances have become possible through the work of American dendrochronologists.
however.ooo years (Kigoshi and Hasegawa I966) which compares with that cited for Sequoia. based on work by Suess (I967) is shown in fig. to o B.New configurationsin Old World archaeology 201 and Grey 1966). The reasons for the fluctuations in the atmospheric radiocarbon have yet to be established.There are also modifications to the published curve. No dates (except that for Burgaschisee-Suid) can be regarded as accurately calibrated. Calibration curves. But dates should still be quoted. and is supported by Japanese C14 determinations for a tree-ring sequence from Cryptomeriajaponica over a range of nearly 2. The harmony between the C14 dates for the same year-ring of living bristlecone pines and of trees long dead (and therefore subjected to less potential contamination from this source) is. . at La Jolla in California (Stuiver and Suess I966) and at Philadelphia (Ralph and Michael 1967.C.g. The authors cited are unanimous that over a period going back from about 1500 B. which imply that the same given C14 date (e. in radiocarbon years. it is too early to give radiocarbon dates a final calibration in calendar years.it is no stronger than the assumptions which sustain it. such as fig. One possibility is that they are produced by fluctuations in the isotopic equilibrium of the earth's carbon exchange reservoir (the seas.like any other chronology . The calibration has also been extended back to 5100 B. at the same time.C. while admitting that .) may arise from samples of two or more different calendar dates. can profitably be used to suggest approximate calendrical dates. producing misleadingly younger C14 dates after analysis.C. a counter argument. 1969).568 half-life. At present we seem justified in following through the implications of the new chronology. Another question is the possibility of diffusion across the tree during its growth. on the 5. with a standard error of less than forty years (Ferguson. personal communication). involving the radiocarbon analysis of 300 dendrochronologically dated specimens.C. Huber and Suess I965). it makes possible a far greater accuracy when there is sufficient well-preserved wood of the period in question to permit the compilation of a 'floating' tree-ring chronology.C. This places a limit on the accuracy which we can expect for C14 dates taken in isolation. This theory has been investigated by Bucha (I967) and evaluated archaeologically by Neustupny (I968). At present. by a considerable margin. the atmosphere and the biomass): attempts have been made to correlate the fluctuations with climatic changes. And yet. 21. The world-wide validity of the results is suggested by the rapidity with which the radioactive concentrations in the atmosphere in different parts of the world have equalized after A-bomb tests. as suggested in Table 2. to 3700 B. 21. the polar ice. In this way the duration of a lake village of the Michelsberg culture at Burgaschisee in Switzerland has been set at 4000 B.C. perhaps related to changes in the earth's magnetic field as well as that of the sun.C. has allowed the calibration of the period from 500 B. 2800 B. and similar work has now been undertaken at Auvernier. It is important to note the various kinks on the calibration curve. which remains sound in outline (Suess. the C14 dates are systematically younger than the treering ones. such that the older rings in the heart might become contaminated with new material from the sap. Alternatively the atmospheric radiocarbon concentration could be affected by variations in the cosmic ray flux (which produces C14 in the atmosphere). A preliminary approximation. Subsequent work by Suess. however.
568 half-life). as determined by Hayes (Hayes. With less certainty it goes back to the First Dynasty at the beginning of the third millennium. bringing the C14 and historical chronologies into much closer agreement. On the other hand. specially collected by Mr Geoffrey Martin (Berger and Libby 1967. Since many of the extant C14 dates for Egypt were determined in the early developmental stages of the method. 2030 ? I00 B. The date is first given in radiocarbon years (on the 5. 2I) this gives a mean date in calendar years of c.C. It will be seen that the historical calendar dates. but it encourages us to apply it to other areas.730 half-life) by Dales (I965). their accuracy is not high. No such sequence is available for Mesopotamia. however. Independent astronomical evidence shows that the Egyptian calendar is accurate back to the time of the Twelfth Dynasty in the nineteenth century B. The samples were of material from secure stratigraphic contexts. because of the kinks in the curve. arises from the comparison of C14 dates with those established by the calendars of Egypt and the Near East. the Early Dynastic III period of Sumer (in which the Royal Graves at Ur are generally set) traditionally ends at 2370 B. Using the calibration chart (fig. Burleigh and Meeks I969).C. as Libby early realized. and now for the calibration. and finally the approximate mean calibrated date using the revised Suess calibration from bristlecone pine. But we may take the three available C14 dates for the Royal Graves at Ur. The range in radiocarbon years on the 5.202 Colin Renfrew The ancient civilizations: Egypt. to 2250 B.C.C. For the third millennium.C.C.C. 5 2040 ? 150 B. will have to be employed. Broadly speaking the tree-ring calibration of radiocarbon dates harmonizes well with the historical evidence for the third millennium B. Barker. independent scientific methods.. BM-64 BM-70 BM-76 Average: 1970 ?150 B.568 half-life is as follows: .C. This does not yet prove that the calibration is correct. On the basis of the historical calendar. There are no historical dates before this time. Instead. such as varve dating or thermoluminescence.C.568 half-life.C. the calibrated dates seem a great improvement on the old ones. we see that the result is in better accord with the historical date. although the possible range extends from 2850 B. by way of example. Despite the wide time range which the calibration allows. Rowton and Stubbings I962) are given next. The dates for the Indus civilization have been given (on the 5. 2500 B. The historical calendar dates for the appropriate dynasty. a run of twenty-three dates recently obtained by the British Museum and the UCLA laboratory are listed.. 2080 ? X B. This point is demonstrated in Table I. and if earlier C14 dates are to be checked. Sumer and the Indus Valley i A crucial test for the C14 method. and the tree-ring calibrated C14 dates are in closer agreement (Table i). to select some and reject others smacks of subjectivity. and the discrepancy indicated by Libby and others is no longer apparent. again expressed in terms of the 5.
. in calendar years. .. 2950-2550 c. BM 238 UCLA i2zi BM 237 BM 236 UCLA I208 BM 235 BM 234 UCLA 1206 UCLA 1207 UCLA 1205 I600 ?65 I630 ?65 . (mid) . . (early) .. compared with the historicalcalendardate (after and the tree-ringcalibrated date.. ? I 00 B. . .. 2340?60 2530?60 .. c. I (end) . . 2450 to c. . 2950 2950 3350-3050 3400 2950 2950 3400 . In general. Lab.C. Dyn. for the Middle and Late phases of the Indus civilization..568 half-life) I550 ?60 (Hayes) 1992-I786 (using Suess curve) c. 2050-1800 . UCLA 1212 (5. The tree-ringand historicaldates are in good agreement. XI-XII Dyn. Context Dyn. _~~~~~~~~ m . . 2050-1800 C..C. not the successor.. and was clearly much more than a mere offshoot brought about by Mesopotamian expansion or influence.. II 60 60 c. (mid) .. .. (end) . Hayes) deviationof the C14 dateshas not beentakeninto account. of c. mean calibrated date B. too. 1890o 65 2060 ?60 2120 ?65 . 20oo 1550=60 1770 II10 2040-1786 2612-2492 c. Dyn. date B... 2550 c. 2950 .. c. Dyn. c.. IV . Approx. 2150 . these new dates do not conflict with the historical cross-datings which TABLE I RecentC14datesfor the early dynastiesof Egypt. 150 B...It is in somecases (Note that thestandard muchlarger the calibrated are for dates.. 2500 c. 2950-2550 (early) BM 233 UCLA 1204 BM 232 UCLA I203 BM 23I UCLA 1202 BM 230 BM 229 UCLA 1201 BM 228 UCLA I200 2o5o65 ?60 2280 ?65 60 2190o . . c. c 2450-2200 c. c. XII .C. (mid) . 2350-2150 c. 2050 BM 280 ?.. (early) 2950 2950-2600 3100-2850 2320 65 2285 ?60 2430 ?65 2570 ?65 2350 ?65 . I100 B.C.. The Indus civilization here appears the contemporary. III . 2950-2550 . . (early) .C.. 2550 c.) Thesamples from the sites of Sakkaraand El Lahun Historical calendar C14 date B. c..C.C. .New configurationsin Old World archaeology Post-Harappan Late Harappan(Kalibangan and Lothal) Middle Harappan(Kalibangan and Lothal) Kot Diji levels 4 and 5 1755-I700 I980-I790 1945-I825 22II-I975S 203 ? ? 130 B.C. . Dyn. c. III/IV Dyn. 2100 B. No. 1840 ?65 2015 60 2100 2105 2240 2686-2492 2686-2612 .. of the Sumerian. c.. Calibration suggests a range. 2850-2686 .
In Britain long barrows were built throughout the period. and I have followed him in attributing BM-Ioo to the Ggantija . the Polada culture in Italy and the later Aunjetitz and the early Tumulus cultures in Germany . at a first impression.C. the end of the Vinca and Gumelnitsa cultures of south-east Europe.Indus imports in Sumer at the time of Sargon of Agade. (The table includes all but two of the dates listed by Trump (I966: 48): he himself rejects BM-IoI and BM-I42 as failing to conform with the emerging pattern. the end of the Wessex culture in England. The dates for Malta are particularly interesting. the Dhimini culture).C. only a few site names are included. and megalithic tombs also: New Grange was constructed before 3000 B. Vogel and Wislanski I969). with those for Egypt. as well as the Middle Kingdom of Egypt and the Aegean Middle Bronze Age. Bakker.C. Early Dynastic Sumer. the entire chronology before about 1300 B.C. The crucial point which this table makes is that Egypt (with Sumer) and the Aegean are changed only marginally. and the Aegean Early Bronze Age . The fourth millennium B.. and I much doubt whether we shall begin to have an accurate chronology of prehistoric Europe before I980. precision will be impossible.is transformed (see Table 2).g. the Breton Early Bronze Age.) sees the late predynastic cultures of Egypt. Outside the historically dated areas. Neustupny i969). 2 Prehistoric Europe So many radiocarbon dates are now available for prehistoric Europe that a comprehensive tabulation and assessment would be a massive undertaking (see Thomas 1967 for a brave attempt). the contemporary not of Mycenae but of the pyramids of Egypt. (4000-3000 B. while further north the Beaker/Early Bronze Age transition is taking place in Germany and the Low Countries. Silbury Hill can now be set around 2500 B. Their contemporaries to the west are now the Los Millares culture of Spain and the Remedello-Rinaldone cultures of Italy. Sumer and the Aegean (cf. The chronological 'fault line' comes at the edge of these historically dated regions .just as before. the Breton passage graves were already being built before 4000 B..204 Colin Renfrew are available . and proably early Aunjetitz) are well under way.all prior to the beginning of Mycenaean civilization on the Greek mainland (Renfrew I968. In the third millennium B. Indeed.C.C. The Early Bronze Age of east-central Europe (Periam and Nagyrev cultures. The early second millennium sees. Wheeler i969). around 2350 B. Here the intention is rather to give an indication of the changes in relative chronology which a dendrochronological calibration will produce. the Michelsberg culture in central Europe and the TRB 'A' and 'B' phases in Denmark (cf.C. contemporary with which must now be set the later Neolithic of Greece (e. Until we have well dated 'floating' tree-ring sequences for many regions and periods. They harmonize adequately.in a curve running from the west Mediterranean and Italy through south Jugoslavia and Bulgaria to the Black Sea. if the dates from French laboratories are accepted.are set Old Kingdom Egypt. about the same time as Tustrup and Ferslev in Denmark. which this line encloses.C. with their already flourishing copper metallurgy. For simplicity. The table given below is therefore merely a suggestion. and are further considered below. being possibly from fossil wood.
i E.B. St) WarickI- Lerna 32 PYRA- SARGON OF AGADE E.1265) HORIZON Helmsdorf n[ 1INTERMED.H. (HACHMANN)Codicote(NPL-is) POLADA HAMMURABI TAR FUZESABONY L. for date of severalcenturies Theprovisional natureof the tableimpliesthat changes absolute in remain for possible sp CALIBRATED DATE BC EGYPT (approx.).EZERO .D.5%-7 Madonna IJ Mgarr7 (BM.I'l .m Lerna Ei CJOS EARLY PERIAM AUNJETITZ HORIZON Antofts I WESSEX CIST GRAVES NAGYRE NAGYRE Vlaardingen Brabant (P 318-321) VELUWE Stonehenq&IIl." lll ONUI LL ene-.C. given in approximate calendar Experimental chronological years using dendr with the historical calendarin the case of Egypt and Sumerafter3000 B.H.tB. L.MI.TI Ur Royal Cem (P299) E. beenconsidered.XVIII 2 INTERMED. L. KnocK veaW (D 37) ne s wlnamlll tHi L.TABLE 2 chart of selectedculturesand sites.ej.D.B. (together and Namesin lowercase ind Capital lettersrefer to cultures periods(theplus signs indicatingcontemporaneity). Tara PG.H..G.D. In the column Malta.:. signifies in indicatethe P. LATE UBAID 'Warka 17/18 EARLY AMRATIAN UBAID LATE NEOLITHICTell Azmak Varaiti Elsloo Konens H0J Christiansholms ROSSEN Dummer Arene Candide ' EARLY(BM61O Skorba (BM148 NEOLITHIC Newferry (D36) Dalkey Island CHIOZZA RE SKO Dhimini 4500 L. IUMULUb M. abbreviations parenthesis longbarrow.I Windmill Hill (enclosure)(sM74) (SM 129) tGrN 462) Skorb (8M KUM TEPE i Kephala (P1280) 3500 GERZEAN EARLY BADEN Odoorn EZEROVO NEOLITHIC Mulbjerq GGA EARLY URUK G~ralRleSh(P468-?-) FINAL C TRIPOLYE NEOLITHIC 774) I(l(BLN S..j I"' Windypits (CASTELFifty Farm(BM133) Stonehenqe Ic602 -LUCCIO) Aubrey H6le)32 TAR CEME BEAKER Silburv Hill Tarxie (BM 2500- TV PYRAMIDS E.AUNJETITZ Phaistos(pi is58 OF BABYLON City Farm(GrN.. (0 43) RINALDONE TAR Asciano Ii 3000 DYN.) SUMER AEGEAN SOUTH. l 'C Cernavoda(sln 6ia Dblauer Heicle E. M..I TROYI Karatas EARLY BEAKER Anio 51 Grotta Piccloni4 SAFL + REMEDELLO Tustrup NewGrangeP G N PROTOLITERATE LATE URUK Eutresls (P306-7) CERNAVODA CORDED FerisLC WARE TeIsvB Sltagroi (BLN 773) . t WaylandsSmithy Lagozza MG Nutbane L.B Grotta PiccioniI (BM 49) LAGOZZA Skorb (BM14 Willerby Wold LB ZEBB Ehenslde Tarn Arene CandideALL Skorbah .A. X III 2000 MBA BRONZE Barche diSolferinc HORIZON mIT Swarkeston(NPL-b.ekl. passagegrave.l:-A Weier eA' Heidmoor 4000- t3ur-ga5cnisee Ebbsfleet(BM713)Grotta Della sounth b.IU (P-273) VUCEDOL CLASSICAL BADEN Pon:v^4 Anlo A C Sitagroi YSb MIDDLE Stonehenge I NEOLITHIC (ditch) (C602) + RG.I E.GUMELNITSA ERTEB0LLE (D 38) .is CEME Palaikastro WESSEX i: (St.tanroi-'AL'--- MICHELSBERG TR B Thayngen m.CENTRAL NORTH BRITAIN ITALY EAST EUROPE EUROPE EUROPE MYCENAE HAFI G(KAVES MA 1500- DYN.B.
and precede the pyramids by a millennium.C. and some henge monuments (and Silbury Hill) are contemporary with the pyramids. Renfrew i969b) .there are dramatic changes.C. The metal dagger is seen throughout southern Europe in the first half of the third millennium B.and specifically for Aegean relations with Iberia (Renfrew I967) and with the Balkans (Mellaart I960. for the Michelsberg culture at Burgischisee-Siid and Thayngen-Weier. The later neolithic of Britain (and other regions) is greatly lengthened. At present the only really sound fixed point (apart from the historical dates) is that of 3700 B. Wessex precedes Mycenae. on the assumption that the whole bristlecone pine calibration will not be overthrown completely in some unforeseen way. First. Io There are no significant changes in the relative chronologies of the Aegean. the rough outline is clear. The signs which they bear must therefore be seen as a local development. The first temples in Malta likewise predate the pyramids by many centuries. obviously. the internal relative chronology is very little changed. and the earliest passage graves. The earliest rock-cut tombs of the Mediterranean are at Xemxija and Hal Saflieni in Malta. at the beginning of the Ggantija phase. On each side of the fault. if they really belong to the time of the Vinca culture. and in northern Europe by the end of the third millennium. however. there is considerable faulting along the 'fault-lines' already mentioned.inadequacies not restricted to problems of chronology alone. It should be noted that the Tartaria tablets.C. But across it. It is not yet clear whether or not they are as early in south-west Europe. It is not sufficient. and the first temples. The Middle Bronze Age of Europe is contemporary with Mycenae and the period is considerably lengthened. Neustupny i968. The earliest dated megalithic graves.206 Colin Renfrew phase. as more fixed points become available from the calibration of 'floating' tree-ring sequences. Among the points of relative chronology which at once emerge are: i 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Metallurgy develops earlier in the Balkans than in the Aegean. however.. Egypt or Mesopotamia. The jolt which it gives us should promote some basic reflections on the inadequacies of much of our current thinking . It is interesting to contrast it with the chronological table given in the various editions of Gordon Childe's Dawn of European Civilisation. may be as early as 3500 B. and the Tartaria tablets together with the Vinca culture predate not only Troy but protoliterate Sumer as well. are (on present data) in France. No doubt various elements in this overall picture will change over the next few years. simply to accept the new chronology and carry on as before. At least. . long antedate the development of writing in the Near East (see Renfrew I969b). Second. all the Neolithic dates are earlier. Two changes are apparent. and the durations of periods increased. Beakers are seen in south-east Europe by the time of the pyramids and Troy II.C.) The temple cultures of Malta are over well before 2000 B.
High among the priorities is a need to consider just how innovations are communicated between cultures: 'diffusion' and 'influence' are no longer meaningful words. and just what effect their arrival had . New ways of approaching the data are needed.since the chronology of Early Helladic Greece and the west Mediterranean has become clearer . however. like that from Castelluccio in Sicily. or that one culture frequently did influence another.not just in order to establish dates. the basic material of archaeology. In the words of Sir Mortimer Wheeler: 'We have been preparing timetables: let us now have some trains.perhaps in ten years' time . and its effects analysed in detail. to deny that migrations sometimes did take place. Ix). The mechanism of this influence has to be stated. and are indeed being applied in some areas of the world. It is now beginning to be clear. especially the daggers.' Indeed it is not enough simply to accept the new chronology and continue to look at the past in the same old way. Yet some of the Maltese finds. but is effectively contemporary with it. resemble those of Early Helladic II Greece. It is indeed of note that the first temples of Malta may have been built a millennium beforethepyramids. during the Uruk period of Sumer. But to say this is not. where possible. when given new and systematic expression by Childe.such factors cannot be assumed. two millennia before Mycenae and three millennia before the Olmecs of Mexico (plates xo. I Culture contact. not only resembles that from Lerna IV in Greece. in terms of social relationships rather than artefacts.New configurationsin Old World archaeology new configurations 207 Beyond chronology: It is a paradox that each new dating method makes chronology less important and less interesting. order-of-magnitude quantitative terms (Renfrew i969a). A close analysis of these 'parallels' is now necessary . and can use the artefacts. The new chronology sets the prehistory of Malta back in the melting pot (although the culture sequence established by Evans (I959) and modified by Trump (I966) remains basic). for purposes other than dating! How satisfactory if radiocarbon. that simply to state the existence of an 'influence' is insufficient: a suggested migration of itself explains nothing (Binford I968: 268). we can now see that the bossed bone plaque of the Tarxien Cemetery phase ('The Destroyers'). GA . but to investigate mechanisms. If new people arrived we shall seek to understand why they came. the typologies and the cross-datings. There is a need to think in positive. new configurations among the data. When discussing the end of the 'temple' cultures of Malta. How pleasant it will be .when we shall have a number of well-calibrated fixed points on the chart. and thermoluminescence and fission-track dating would render obsolete the seriations. since the features in Malta may be as early as those in Greece. Admirable in the'twenties. Diffusionism has been the curse of prehistoric archaeology for twenty years. and some of the pottery is like that of Early Helladic I or Troy I. And above all it is worth while to think. Professor Evans's concept of 'culture creep' is in this case hardly applicable. of course. This Early Helladic III culture of Greece (rather than the Middle Helladic) is reflected in the painted wares and two-handled tankards of the Castelluccio culture. For this reason Malta is taken as an example of the way the new chronology should stimulate us to find new forms of explanation. it has subsequently hardened into sterile dogma.
and the Maltese spirals developed long before those of Minoan Crete. A large population seems very unlikely and it might well be that Io. some sort of prehistoric NASA.The time has now come when it should be useful to speak in quantitative terms. Accepting the view of Evans and Trump that the 'temples' were essentially an indigenous creation. Malta could. have developed locally? The excavation of a settlement of this period is an urgent necessity here. It is the lamentable truth that there has been virtually no consideration for European prehistory as to how the mysterious process of diffusion actually works. and probably neither olives nor vines were domesticated. 48) is now a millennium earlier than the stele of Troy I. vessels blown off course. at least. absorbing much of the time of the population and perhaps seriously hampering development in other directions (just as intensive military .208 Colin Renfrew (And of course the famous Zebbug menhir (Evans 1959: pl.500 years. 122/sq. a total population of perhaps 0o. perhaps under the 'influence' of 'contacts' with Sicily. as well as travel to Pantelleria. bringing with them metallurgy and a different form of burial? May not the latter. since the succeeding period is dated by a Mycenaean import to the thirteenth century B.any imaginative hypothesis is taken on its face value. although again all of these are worth while as suggestions. is indicated by obsidian analyses. which is all we can hope to achieve. for instance. however approximate. Should we regard the temples of Malta . not merely to establish 'influence' but to establish its nature. mile for Malta and Gozo) we can make an order-of-magnitude estimate for the prehistoric population of Malta. highlights the significance of these monuments.as fantastic material achievements. 'metal prospectors'. have supported a population of about i8. Such order-of-magnitude thinking.ooo people (some 300. 2 Quantitative reasoning and demography. since modern cereal varieties would not have been available.or indeed for that matter the megaliths of France and beyond . are we sure that a new people wiped out the old and started afresh. Are we sure that continuity was not greater than has been suggested? It now looks as if the Tarxien Cemetery may have lasted a full millennium. were carved before the Tarxien Cemetery period? Indeed. Hawkins very appositely compared the investment of means which Stonehenge represented for its builders with that which the United States now pours into the space race. in these terms. assuming a farming economy as efficient as that of Naxos today. The subsequent transition to the Tarxien Cemetery culture has always seemed an abrupt one (although this may have been partly the result of accepting a short time scale).at present most of the argument rests on finds from burials and monumental buildings (plate I2).ooo or less would be a more realistic estimate. mile for the Cycladic island of Naxos for instance.c.) This means that many of the old parallels are dismissed: the new ones merit closer analysis. 'destroyers'.ooo was responsible for their construction (over all the relevant phases) during perhaps 1. And are we confident that all the reliefs at Tarxien. 'Adventurers'. and without effective immigration? We just don't know. How many readers can make a fair guess at the population density of a purely agricultural community in the Mediterranean today? Or at the area of Malta with Gozo? Yet from these figures (i5o/ sq.000 live there today). For Malta a persistent if minor contact with Sicily during the time of the 'temple' cultures. Could the Tarxien Cemetery culture have grown up in Malta on the basis provided by its Neolithic predecessor.
A 'temple' is a bigger and more complex artefact. an economic one perhaps (in the purpose of its production and the use to which it is in fact put). This is of course mere guesswork. based on simple constructional techniques. Malta has been singled out for discussion here.but am optimistic that controlled speculation. not simply in our chronology. just as Atkinson has undertaken for Stonehenge (I956) should suggest an answer.over the period of its use? Can we then deduce whether its use was restricted to a single limited segment of the population? The same thinking is relevant to the megalithic tombs of western Europe.vi.as is often the case with islands. and a religious belief in the paramount significance of the pharaoh. We are surely trying to do more than reconstruct a sequence of events: we are seeking to explain them. hypotheses waiting to be formulated which it is within our power to test. I do not know what that configuration was . in most regions they are probably so few as to have been the burial place solely of a chiefly family. the nexus of very many situations over a long period of time. I970 University of Sheffield . They render meaningless so much that has been written in recent years that there must have been serious inadequacies in our whole approach to the past. 3 Social structure. a small tax upon the population. a social one (who does and does not use it) and so forth. however. the outcome of several contemporary situations . and the search for new kinds of data (for instance settlement sites). For one thing. a constant reference back to the available data. in a manner applicable equally to other areas. Just as the pyramids of Egypt reflect a strongly hierarchical social organization. The moral which we should not fail to draw.buildings like these are not found among many neolithic societies. But there are in this field. although important in aggregate over the centuries? A little cost-analysis. Absolute numbers (to an order-of-magnitude level) are informative in many ways. So impressive a series of monuments as those of Malta could have been produced only through a restricted range of social and religious circumstances . account for the total population in that region of Malta -. so the 'temples' of Malta (and their existence in so large a number) must result from. and almost certainly a fossilized religious one also.a technological one (in its production).New configurationsin Old World archaeology 209 production today is felt to restrict social progress)? Or did they represent a relatively small annual effort.or indeed of the entire island . will make progress towards some plausible reconstruction of it.1969. Did the human remains taken from the Hal Saflieni hypogeum. it is undeniably a fossilized social idea.iv. with locational studies. like some Well-Dressing in the Peak District of Britain today. simply because some of the problems are very clear-cut . is that the new dates should not simply change our chronologies. And of course a single artefact can be seen as something more complex. a distinctive social configuration. for instance. Stringent limitations of space here prevent a more adequate examination. and embody. They prevent also a consideration of our objectives as archaeologists. It has been well said that an artefact is a fossilized idea. 9. revised 5. Perhaps the sharp jolt which the chronology imparts to our thinking will help us work out more carefully our aims and our basic procedures.
Helinium. and Meeks. David Trump and especially from Mr Arthur Ap Simon. and Libby. ch. Neustupny. Science. Malta.Archaeometry. Intensity of the Earth'smagnetic field during archaeological 10:12-22.. B. E. and Stubbings. i966. Bristleconepine: science and esthetics. Absolute chronology of the Neolithic and Aeneolithic periods of central and south-easternEurope. Berger.). T. Fluctuationof atmosphericC-14 during the last Research.. six millennia. UCLA Radiocarbondates 6. D. J. Rowton. References Atkinson. C. Radiocarbon.21 :783. A. V. Ferguson. I960. 65:357-67. W. Long. C. 257-84. Absolute chronologyof the Neolithic and Aeneolithic periods in central and south-east Europe. K.. for which I am very grateful. and Grey. Archeologicke Rozhledy. i969. R. R. I969. F.Journalof Geophysical 71:1055-63. E. B. G. C. Bakker. J. SlovenskaArcheologia. Dales. Barker. Determinationof the age of Swiss lakeradiocarbondating. 24:270. Zeitschrift fiiur dwellings as an example of dendrochronologically-calibrated 2 A:I 173-7. I966. L.J. W. A. W. slovakia. The accuracyof radiocarbon Mellaart. Secularvariationof atmosphericradiocarbon Research. and Wislanski. W. R. I965.9:3. Dr Derek Roe. 1956. Vogel. 1968.Baluchistanand the Indus valley. P.210 Colin Renfrew Acknowledgements In writing this article I have received encouragementor helpful comment.140:278-80. K. Science.Antiquity. I962. Cambridge History. Huber. L. R. and Suess. I968.Journalof Geophysical 7 area. H. concentration Kigoshi. 9:490. I96I. I963. I967. Naturforschung. E. Damon. J. E. Some comments on historicalversus processualarchaeology. F. in In Ehrich. from Mr Andrew Fleming. I967. I966.Southwestern Journalof Anthropology.J. I968.. Ferguson. E. 1:1065-71. and its dependenceon geomagnetism. Ancient Hayes.H. dates.H. TRB and other C14 dates from Poland. W. I. C. Anatoliaand the Balkans. R. F. Burleigh. and Ralph. Chronologies Old WorldArchaeology. C. W. Radiocarbon. A suggested chronologyfor Afghanistan. M. Stonehetnge. 2:278. and Hasegawa. 24:267-75... American Kohler. British Museum Natural RadiocarbonMeasurements VI. I969. i6:19-56. . Neustupny. 1959.159:839-46. Dr Ian Longworth. D. VI. F. C-X4dates for sites in the Mediterranean Journalof Archaeology. H. Dr. Binford. M. Libby. II. Evans. Chronology. (ed. E. C. times in CzechoBucha.
Radiocarbon. The autonomy of the south-east EuropeanCopper Age. and Michael. I967.C. Ralph. R. E. C.the implicationsand effects of these changes are considered. In RadioactiveDating and Methodsof Low Level Counting(InternationalAtomic Energy Agency. Stuiver. On the relationshipbetween radiocarbondates and true 8:534-40.C. Variationsin the atmosphericradiocarbon concentrationover the past I300 years. H. M. CurrentAnthropology. is revolutionizingthe absolute chronology of prehistoricEurope. 1967. N. C. and Michael.Colin New configurations in Old World archaeology The tree-ring calibrationof radiocarbondates from the fifth to the first millennium B. I969a. Bristleconepine calibrationof the radiocarbontime scale from 4100 B. I964. 1969. Egypt and C-I4 dating. I0:3-II. Renfrew. and how sterile much chronologicaldiscussion.43:72. I7. The very magnitude of the changes emphasizes how erroneous much recent diffusionist thinking has been. I1:469. K. L. IO:I5I-69.41:276. Abstract Renfrew. I969. 63:277-85. Skorba(Reportsof the ResearchCommitteeof the Society of Antiquaries of London. 1967. E. I960. S. H. Mediterranean MediterraneanArchaeology. Smith. H. 0. 2:1-4. and Suess. Review in Antiquity.New configurationsin Old World archaeology 21 Ralph. Renfrew. Wheeler. . Vienna). M.Archaeometry. Problems of the radiocarboncalendar.(Studies in Thomas. K. Radiocarbon. E. University of PennsylvaniaRadiocarbonDates XII. After a survey of the scientific background.38:32--7. D. and EuropeanChronology. 22). Proceedings the of PrehistoricSociety. H. 35:12. Near Eastern. 1966.) Trump. Colonialismand Megalithismus. Annual of the British School of Archaeologyat Athens. 1967. Renfrew. Suess. Antiquity.A new chronologyis tentativelypresentedin tabularform. I966. N. H. E. Renfrew. H. H. C.to I500 B. The moral is drawnthat we should be seeking configurationsamong the data of a differentkind: the point is illustratedby referenceto the prehistoryof Malta. E. Radiocarbon.Antiquity.C. 1968. Trade and culture process in Europeanprehistory. I969b. R. E. Willis.. Tauber. Wessex without Mycenae. C. sample ages. H. H. and Miinnich.
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