Radiocarbon DatingCraig Cessford
This year we received the results of a set of AMS radiocarbon dates undertaken at the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit. The dates were concerned with the areas excavated in 1999 and are particularly important as they cover the earliest archaeological deposits excavated so far. This produced dates centring around the period c.7,300 to 7,150 calibrated BC for the earliest known archaeological activity at the site (Figure 17). This work has also provided a basis for a thorough reanalysis of all the other radiocarbon dates from the site, which has produced a more coherent understanding of the dating of Çatalhöyük. This will be published in the December 2001 issue of Antiquity. We can now estimate that Çatalhöyük was occupied for between 950 and 1,150 years and that individual buildings were typically occupied for between fifty and eighty years, although it appears that they were actually of longer duration earlier on and that this decreased through time. Another series of radiocarbon dates are currently being undertaken at Oxford focusing upon the North Area excavations, which took place between 1995 and 1998.
Figure 17: Plot of the earliest radiocarbon dates from Çatalhöyük