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RADIOCARBON DATING OF MESOLITHIC OPEN-AIR SITES IN THE COVERSAND AREA OF THE NORTH-WEST EUROPEAN PLAIN: PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS

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email philippe.crombe@ugent.be

Abstract

This paper discusses the problems with sampling materials and sampled contexts in the framework of radiocarbon dating of Mesolithic sites situated in generally dry, acid and bioturbated coversand deposits within north-western Europe. The case studies presented all relate to the coversand regions of northern Belgium and the Netherlands, two areas for which very large sets of radiocarbon dates performed on different organic components are currently available. The study points out that charred hazelnut shells from surface hearths and charcoal from hearth pits guarantee the most secure dating results, while the dating of calcined bones and food crusts from Final Mesolithic pottery so far remains problematic.

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