The prehistoric site of Valencina is the best radiocarbon dated in the Peninsula

The prehistoric site of Valencina is the best radiocarbon dated in the Peninsula


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Members of the Department of Prehistory and Archeology of the University of Seville have published a study that includes 130 new radiocarbon dates of bones and other carbon structures in the Archaeological Site of Valencina de la Concepción (Seville), obtained in laboratories in Oxford and Glasgow (United Kingdom) and in the National Center for Accelerators.

Added to the 45 previously existing dates, with almost 180 dates by C14, This site is currently the best radiocarbon-dated site in all of recent Iberian prehistory (which includes the Neolithic, Copper Age and Bronze Age periods).

This work, resulting from a collaboration carried out in the last five years by the universities of Seville, Huelva and Cardiff and the Museum of Valencina, includes a complex statistical modeling of the radiocarbon dating to provide a more precise approximation to the temporality of use of the Valencina site, and to know in a more detailed way the social processes and cultural phenomena that occurred during the almost one thousand years that its occupation lasted, between 3200 and 2300 BC. (ANE).

[Tweet «#Archeology #History - With almost 180 carbon-14 dating, the Valencina site in Seville is the best radiocarbon-dated site of all recent Iberian prehistory»]

Among the main conclusions highlighted by the experts, it should be noted that the oldest contexts found in the site, which dates back to the century XXXII ANE, they are of type funeral, specifically hypogeal cavities that served as the setting for sequential collective burials (for example, it is the case of the hypogea found in La Huera, Castilleja de Guzmán, or in Calle Denmark, Valencina).

"These data are important in the debate about the nature that this great site had throughout its history, making it clear that burial practices had a determining importance already in its genesis", comments Professor of Prehistory of the US Leonardo García San Juan.

Large megalithic structures

On the other hand, obtaining C14 date series for four of the great megalithic monuments of this site it has allowed to establish a first guiding sequence of their construction and use.

In this regard, highlights that the oldest monuments, built between the XXX and XXVIII centuries BCE (Cerro de la Cabeza, the so-called structure 10,042-10,049 and the tholos –circular structure for funerary or ritual use– of Montelirio) were characterized by the use of large slate slabs to cover the walls and the chambers, which were probably made of mud dried in the sun, and by 'canonical' solar orientations (at sunrise).

After what appears to be a period of reduced activity in the XXVII century, the tholos of La Pastora was probably built, with very different architectural characteristics: without large slate slabs, but with a chamber covered by a false stone dome, an important technical and aesthetic innovation, and with a 'heretical' orientation towards the southwest, turning its back on the sunrise.

"It is very likely that these changes in monumental architecture were due to changes in the social and ideological sphere, including perhaps religious‘ heterodoxies ’", adds the researcher.

Third, experts have found that the end of the occupation of this area of ​​the province of Seville occurred between the XXIV and XXIII centuries BCE, with no evidence of its frequenting or use being found in the Bronze Age (c. 2200-850 BCE).

“In fact, the abandonment of the site seems rather abrupt, without a gradual transition to a different social model. The possibility that the end of the Valencina was due to a social crisis has been outlined by the dates obtained from several human skulls found separated from the rest of the skeletons in a hole in the Calle Trabajadores de Valencina ”, affirms the director of this group research.

According to the radiocarbon data, all these individuals almost certainly died at the same time, which opens the possibility of an episode of violence (massacre, crime or sacrifice).

The fact that several of the skulls were ritually treated, showing fleshing marks, and that this "special" mortuary deposit appears associated with the largest collection of bell-shaped pottery found at the site, suggests that the episode had great symbolic significance.

The palaeoenvironmental data for the whole of the Mediterranean and Europe indicate that between the XXIV and XXIII centuries BCE a period of greater aridity and dryness began on a global level that could have severe consequences for many societies worldwide, including droughts.

At this time the end of the Chalcolithic way of life occurred throughout the Iberian Peninsula, and the abandonment of some of the more important sites with moat enclosures, as now appears to be the case in Valencina de la Concepción.

This broadly coincides with the closure in the Nile Valley of the so-called Old Kingdom with a great crisis that marks the end of the construction stage of the great pyramids.

This work has been published in Journal of World Prehistory, whose cover is dedicated to the impressive stone arrowheads of the tholos of Montelirio. It is the second time in less than a year that the works of this research group in the Valencina-Castilleja Archaeological Zone have been on the cover of this prestigious magazine.


Video: Radiocarbon Dating


Comments:

  1. Jens

    Thanks for the explanation, the simpler the better ...

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  3. Oke

    Sorry, but I think it's obvious.

  4. Osmarr

    curious, and the analog is?

  5. Awad

    Really and as I have not realized earlier

  6. Armando

    Something like that does not appear



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