The University of Arizona

Radiocarbon and Dendrochronological Dates of the Corded Ware Culture

Piotr Wlodarczak


This paper presents and discusses radiocarbon dates of the Corded Ware culture (CWC) from different regions of Europe (mainly from southern and central Germany and southern and central Poland). The main questions addressed are the controversial significance of particular results, the incompatibility of the obtained date sequences, and the "imprecision of the method." There is clearly the problem of hundreds of dates from different laboratories and performed in different years. A slight difference in the results leads to an "elongated"chronology and acceptance of a model with synchronicity of many cultural groups. The proposed verification of the 14C chronology is connected with both the dendrochronological method and the comparison of dating sequences obtained from particular regions. At present, the most reliable dating scheme for the Corded Ware culture is the one based on the dendrochronological dates of settlements on Swiss lakes; therefore, the scheme must constitute a reference point for 14C analyses conducted for other regions. Due to the typological diversity of materials, however, not every situation allows for this approach. Thus, many 14C grave dates, particularly the results referring to the late CWC phase (after ~2400 BC), remain controversial.

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