Two Clocks: A Comparison of Ceramic and Radiocarbon Dates at Macapainara, East Timor

Jack Fenner, Francis Bulbeck

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Radiocarbon analysis and ceramic typology assessment are commonly used to date late Holocene archaeological sites in Island Southeast Asia. We apply both methods to date the site of Macapainara in East Timor, and they produce substantially different age ranges for this site. The radiocarbon dates are consistently later in time than ceramic typology dates from the same or adjacent stratigraphic levels. We assess the various sources of error for the two dating techniques that could produce this discrepancy, and conclude that the ceramic typology age ranges are misleadingly old due to concerted curation of fine ceramics by the site occupants. We discuss the implications of this for dating sites in East Timor and elsewhere within Island Southeast Asia.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)143-156
    JournalAsian Perspectives
    Volume52
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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