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New 14C Dates of Neolithic and Early Metal Period Ceramics in Lithuania

Gytis Piliciauskas, Mika Lavento, Markku Oinonen, Gytis Grizas


Twenty-three samples of charred food remains, charcoal, burned animals, and human bones from 14 Lithuanian prehistoric sites were dated by radiocarbon as part of a dating project oriented towards renewing the prehistoric ceramics chronology. The new dates modified the dating of ceramic styles by hundreds to a thousand years. Three Textile Ware sherds were dated to 4230–2920 cal BC—the oldest known dates of Textile Ware pottery in the East Baltic. The organic-tempered pointed-bottomed Narva and Combed-like Wares were dated to 3970–3370 cal BC, while Bay Coast Ware (Haffküstenkultur, Rzucewo), including vessels decorated with cord impressions, were dated to 3940–3540 cal BC, i.e. to a period well preceding the Corded Ware/Battle Axe horizon in Europe. Three dates of Globular Amphorae Ware placed the phenomenon directly beyond the Bay Coast chronology, i.e. in 3450–2920 cal BC. Chamotte-tempered Corded Ware from SE Lithuania was dated to 2840–2570 cal BC. The first absolute dating of coarse ware of the Žalioji type pointed to a period of 760–515 cal BC instead of the previously assumed 2nd millennium cal BC. Cremated human bones from urns found at Paveisininkai, Kernavė, and Naudvaris cemeteries were dated to 790–380 cal BC. Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) dates obtained from charred food remains should be treated with a certain caution due to a possible freshwater reservoir effect that has not yet been examined in Lithuania.

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