Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Radiocarbon dating inconsistencies of a late Mesolithic burial site at Gard, Ukraine


Biology Department


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Life Sciences


A multi-layer site Gard in southern Ukraine presents a unique record of prehistoric occupation of southeast Europe from the Mesolithic to modern times. An early Bronze Age (EBA) cemetery and a tumulus group, as well as a late Mesolithic burial of extended (Mariupol-type, M-t) interments was uncovered at the site in 2013. Cultural layer between the M-t interments and EBA cemetery has been previously dated by C14 analysis to the Neolithic (Bug-Dnister and Trypillia cultural complexes). Three interments from the M-t cemetery and two from the EBA cemetery have recently been subjected to C14 analysis. The EBA dates fell within the expected range. The M-t burials, on the other hand, deviated from the predicted based on archaeology findings by two millennia. Gard is situated on a riverbank, thus the artifacts found at the site have been most likely subjected to repeated floodings. Furthermore, it is likely that the diet of the inhabitants likely included foodstuffs derived from the river. Thus, the reservoir effect on C14 dates has been expected. However, the reservoir effect would age the specimens, not make them younger. Potential factors that influence the C14 dating at the site remain unclear.

Conference Name

Radiocarbon and diet: aquatic food resources and reservoir effects

Conference Location

Kiel, Germany

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