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 difficult period to date absolutely because of two critical issues. The first 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 significance 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 effects are outlined using two areas sampled for radiocarbon dating at Pagan: the fortifications near the Tharaba Gate and a site within the old city walls, Inventory No. 1590, known as the palace.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-8283
Print ISSN
0066-8435
Pages
pp. 75-87
Launched on MUSE
2001-05-01
Open Access
No
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