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Radiocarbon Age Determinations of Mosaic Mortar Layers of Churches from North Jordan

Khaled Al-Bashaireh


This research is aimed at radiocarbon dating organic inclusions and lime-binder powders of mortar layers of mosaic pavements in four churches of arguable archaeological date located in northern Jordan. One mortar sample from each mosaic pavement of each church was collected, examined by thin section microscopy, and then physically pretreated by gentle crushing and dry sieving to collect lime-binder powders of different grain sizes. Charcoal samples uncovered from three samples and the CO2 gases, collected by hydrochloric acid (HCl) hydrolysis of the powders, were 14C dated using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). Four powders of 63–45 μm from the four samples and two powders of 45–38 μm from two samples were analyzed in order to get more precise dates and examine previous proposed models for the interpretation of the results. 14C determinations showed agreement between charcoal ages and archaeological data, while the fine lime-binder’s powders, especially from the mosaic’s bedding layer, produced more precise dates. Results suggest that 14C date profiles produced by HCl hydrolysis of the lime-binder powders can be clearly interpreted by the existing models.

DOI: 10.2458/azu_rc.57.18197


Mosaic; churches; AMS radiocarbon dating; HCl hydrolysis; mortar; lime-binder; bedding layer; nucleus layer,; north Jordan

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