The University of Arizona

14C Ages of Bone Fractions from Armenian Prehistoric Sites

A Cherkinsky, C Chataigner


Prehistoric cultures in Armenia are still poorly known; thus, accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dates are invaluable in constructing an accurate chronology. Bone samples have been collected from sites representing the Middle Paleolithic, Chalcolithic, and Early Bronze periods. Most of the bone samples are poorly preserved. We describe the separation technique for the extraction of both the bioapatite and collagen fractions. In many cases where the bone had very low organic material content, the collagen fractions yielded a younger age, although the ages of bioapatite fractions were found to be in good agreement with associated archaeological artifacts. In cases where bone was well preserved, both fractions exhibited ages in good agreement with the artifacts. The accuracy of 14C dating of bone material always depends on its degree of preservation, and each case should be carefully evaluated to determine which fraction is less contaminated in order to accurately date a burial event.

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