News  |  Posted July 14, 2016

ScARF Student Bursary Report: 14C and Archaeology report #1

Caterina Scirè Calabrisotto working on the human remains from Erimi Laonin tou Porakou

Caterina Scirè Calabrisotto working on the human remains from Erimi Laonin tou Porakou

I joined the Italian Archaeological Mission at Erimi Laonin tou Porakou, Limassol, Cyprus, in 2010, during my master’s degree studies. Since then, besides participating in the excavation procedures, my work has focused on the selection and preparation of samples suitable for radiocarbon dating, with the final aim of building a reliable 14C-based chronology and estimating the dates for the occupation of this Bronze Age village.

After five years of systematic excavations coupled with a targeted sampling strategy, a first reliable 14C-based chronology has been defined for the site of Erimi Laonin tou Porakou, and I was impatient to share the results with the scientific community. I am therefore extremely grateful to the Scottish Archaeological Research Framework and to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland for supporting my participation in the 8th International Symposium on 14C & Archaeology, as this was the ideal platform where to show the most recent outcomes of that ongoing archaeological and chronological research.

The session I presented in was entitled “Rigour in Sampling: in the Field and the Lab”, and it focused on the field and laboratory procedures relating to sampling. Actually, while it is widely recognized that an accurate sampling strategy is the cornerstone of an accurate 14C-based chronology, the lack of a clear characterization and contextualization of the samples still appears to be the major cause of anomalies in the radiocarbon data. This problem was pointed out by several speakers at the conference, and put into relation with the necessity of a fecund dialogue between archaeologists and radiocarbon scientists. Within this framework, my paper was intended both to discuss the sampling strategy we adopted at Erimi Laonin tou Porakou and to show how the collaboration among different specialists can prove fundamental for overcoming the difficulties related to sampling, like the presence of intrusive material, the poor preservation of the samples and the difficult interpretation of the stratigraphic contexts.

After my presentation, I was approached by other researchers asking further questions and offering advises and suggestions which I greatly appreciated, especially in view of the future developments of my research. Also, I was very glad to receive positive remarks on my work as they repay all the efforts I have put into this work.

Finally, this conference was an occasion for me to make new connections and friendships, publish the results of my study, and stay updated with the work of other researchers in the field of radiocarbon dating and archaeology, all aspects my professional development would greatly benefit from.

Caterina Scirè Calabrisotto
PhD in Ancient Heritage Studies
Ca’Foscari University of Venice