The University of Arizona

Stones, Bones, and Hillfort: Radiocarbon Dating of Ķivutkalns Bronze-Working Center

Markku Oinonen, A Vasks, G Zarina, M Lavento


The Bronze Age site of Ķivutkalns with its massive amount of archaeological artifacts and human remains is considered the largest bronze-working center in Latvia. The site is a unique combination of cemetery and hillfort believed to be built on top of each other. This work presents new radiocarbon dates on human and animal bone collagen that somewhat challenge this interpretation. Based on analyses using a Bayesian modeling framework, the present data suggest overlapping calendar year distributions for the contexts within the 1st millennium BC. The carbon and nitrogen isotopic ratios indicate mainly terrestrial dietary habits of studied individuals and nuclear family remains buried in one of the graves. The older charcoal data may be subject to the old-wood effect and the results are partly limited by the limited amount of data and the 14C calibration curve plateau of the 1st millennium BC. Therefore, the ultimate conclusions on contemporaneity of the cemetery and hillfort need to wait for further analyses on the massive amounts of bone material.

DOI: 10.2458/azu_js_rc.55.16280


radiocarbon; Bronze Age; hill-fort; cemetery; Bayesian modeling

Full Text: