Blind dates: Exploring uncertainty in the radiocarbon evidence on the emergence of animal husbandry in the Dutch wetlands

Merita Dreshaj*, Michael W. Dee, Hans Peeters, Daan Raemaekers

*Corresponding author for this work

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The emergence of animal husbandry in the Netherlands remains the subject of much speculation. Challenges in identifying domesticated animals among the faunal remains, inconsistent excavation documentation, and flawed radiocarbon analysis have resulted in questionable chronologies. This paper examines the available radiocarbon evidence from selected sites which are the mainstay of early examples of domesticated animals in the Netherlands, between 5000 and 4000 BCE.1 We approach the legacy data in two ways: by employing principles of chronometric hygiene to reassess the radiocarbon datasets of selected sites and by exploring the use of such data for future studies in chronology by means of Bayesian chronological modelling. The latter is demonstrated with a case study, whereby we employ legacy data from Hardinxveld-Giessendam De Bruin in Bayesian models to demonstrate that, despite their shortcomings, such dates remain a valuable resource for much needed future chronological analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103589
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Publication statusPublished - Oct-2022

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