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Dating the City Wall, Fortifications, and the Palace Site at Pagan

Dating the City Wall, Fortifications, and the Palace Site at Pagan The strengths and limitations of radiocarbon dating as applied to samples taken in and around the walled city center of Pagan, in Burma, are addressed. The last thousand years in mainland Southeast Asia remains a di‰cult period to date absolutely because of two critical issues. The •rst is the use of wood from long-lived species, such as teak, in archaeological contexts. The archaeologist dating such material must be aware of the signi•cance of a date range that relates to the period when a tree was alive rather than to when the wood was actually used in the construction or reconstruction. The second issue stems from the character of the radiocarbon calibration curve for this time period. Several plateaux exist in the curve that seriously broaden the calendar age ranges deriving from uncalibrated high-precision dates. These e€ects are outlined using two areas sampled for radiocarbon dating at Pagan: the forti•cations near the Tharaba Gate and a site within the old city walls, Inventory No. 1590, known as the palace. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Asian Perspectives University of Hawai'I Press

Dating the City Wall, Fortifications, and the Palace Site at Pagan

Asian Perspectives , Volume 40 (1) – May 1, 2001

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1535-8283
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Abstract

The strengths and limitations of radiocarbon dating as applied to samples taken in and around the walled city center of Pagan, in Burma, are addressed. The last thousand years in mainland Southeast Asia remains a di‰cult period to date absolutely because of two critical issues. The •rst is the use of wood from long-lived species, such as teak, in archaeological contexts. The archaeologist dating such material must be aware of the signi•cance of a date range that relates to the period when a tree was alive rather than to when the wood was actually used in the construction or reconstruction. The second issue stems from the character of the radiocarbon calibration curve for this time period. Several plateaux exist in the curve that seriously broaden the calendar age ranges deriving from uncalibrated high-precision dates. These e€ects are outlined using two areas sampled for radiocarbon dating at Pagan: the forti•cations near the Tharaba Gate and a site within the old city walls, Inventory No. 1590, known as the palace.

Journal

Asian PerspectivesUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: May 1, 2001

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