The University of Arizona

Este, Padova, Italy: Dating the Iron Age Waterfront

John Meadows, Nicoletta Martinelli, Marie-Josée Nadeau, Elodia Bianchin Citton


Two floating tree-ring chronologies were developed from oak timbers recovered during salvage excavations of a pre-Roman wharf in Este, a prominent center of the Veneti people, who lived in northeastern Italy during the Iron Age. Wiggle-match radiocarbon dating shows that one chronology spans the 10th and 9th centuries cal BC, and that the waterfront was probably built ~800 cal BC. The second chronology apparently spans most of the 7th century cal BC, and is associated with a phase of construction about 2 centuries after the first. One of the samples gave what appeared to be anomalous 14C results, that may best be explained as evidence of a short-term fluctuation in atmospheric 14C level, which can be seen in short-lived samples but is not apparent in the decadal or bidecadal calibration data. Both chronologies cover periods for which there are no other tree-ring chronologies in this region, and could become key to refining the local Iron Age chronology.

DOI: 10.2458/56.16958


Veneti; Italy; Iron Age; wiggle-match; dendrochronology; atmospheric radiocarbon level

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