INSTITUTO INTERDISCIPLINARIO DE CIENCIAS BASICAS
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
Radiocarbon vs. luminescence dating of archaeological ceramics in the southern Andes: a review of paired dates and a pilot study from Mendoza, Argentina
MARSH, ERIK; GASCO, ALEJANDRA; KORPISAARI, ANTTI; DURÁN, VÍCTOR; PUERTO MUNDT, SEBASTIÁN
UNIV ARIZONA DEPT GEOSCIENCES
Lugar: Arizona; Año: 2021 vol. 63 p. 1471 - 1501
Archaeologists have been using luminescence to date pottery in South America since the late 1970s, inspired by early success in northern Chile. However, these dates have not been rigorously compared to other dating methods. First, we present a compilation of 94 paired 14C and luminescence dates from the southern Andes, which reveals discrepancies across a range of contexts and ages. Second, we compare two Bayesian models of 14C dates and thermoluminescence (TL) from three ceramic styles in the Azapa Valley, Chile, and the Inca occupation of Mendoza, Argentina. We find that only the 14C models produce results that agree with expectations based on independent data. Third, we also carried out a pilot study of three luminescence methods on six sherds from Mendoza, Argentina. These dates do not agree with paired 14C dates. The reasons for broad disagreement between methods remain unclear, but Andean sediments with low and unstable luminescence sensitivity may play a role. Even though some luminescence ages are accurate, the clear trend of inconsistent results leads us to recommend that radiocarbon rather than luminescence dates should be used to build cultural chronologies.