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      Beyond megadrought and collapse in the Northern Levant: The chronology of Tell Tayinat and two historical inflection episodes, around 4.2ka BP, and following 3.2ka BP

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          Abstract

          There has been considerable focus on the main, expansionary, and inter-regionally linked or ‘globalising’ periods in Old World pre- and proto-history, with a focus on identifying, analyzing and dating collapse at the close of these pivotal periods. The end of the Early Bronze Age in the late third millennium BCE and a subsequent ‘intermediate’ or transitional period before the Middle Bronze Age (~2200–1900 BCE), and the end of the Late Bronze Age in the late second millennium BCE and the ensuing period of transformation during the Early Iron Age (~1200–900 BCE), are key examples. Among other issues, climate change is regularly invoked as a cause or factor in both cases. Recent considerations of “collapse” have emphasized the unpredictability and variability of responses during such periods of reorganization and transformation. Yet, a gap in scholarly attention remains in documenting the responses observed at important sites during these ‘transformative’ periods in the Old World region. Tell Tayinat in southeastern Turkey, as a major archaeological site occupied during these two major ‘in between’ periods of transformation, offers a unique case for comparing and contrasting differing responses to change. To enable scholarly assessment of associations between the local trajectory of the site and broader regional narratives, an essential preliminary need is a secure, resolved timeframe for the site. Here we report a large set of radiocarbon data and incorporate the stratigraphic sequence using Bayesian chronological modelling to create a refined timeframe for Tell Tayinat and a secure basis for analysis of the site with respect to its broader regional context and climate history.

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          Radiocarbon Calibration and Analysis of Stratigraphy: The OxCal Program

          People usually study the chronologies of archaeological sites and geological sequences using many different kinds of evidence, taking into account calibrated radiocarbon dates, other dating methods and stratigraphic information. Many individual case studies demonstrate the value of using statistical methods to combine these different types of information. I have developed a computer program, OxCal, running under Windows 3.1 (for IBM PCs), that will perform both 14C calibration and calculate what extra information can be gained from stratigraphic evidence. The program can perform automatic wiggle matches and calculate probability distributions for samples in sequences and phases. The program is written in C++ and uses Bayesian statistics and Gibbs sampling for the calculations. The program is very easy to use, both for simple calibration and complex site analysis, and will produce graphical output from virtually any printer.
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            2500 years of European climate variability and human susceptibility.

            Climate variations influenced the agricultural productivity, health risk, and conflict level of preindustrial societies. Discrimination between environmental and anthropogenic impacts on past civilizations, however, remains difficult because of the paucity of high-resolution paleoclimatic evidence. We present tree ring-based reconstructions of central European summer precipitation and temperature variability over the past 2500 years. Recent warming is unprecedented, but modern hydroclimatic variations may have at times been exceeded in magnitude and duration. Wet and warm summers occurred during periods of Roman and medieval prosperity. Increased climate variability from ~250 to 600 C.E. coincided with the demise of the western Roman Empire and the turmoil of the Migration Period. Such historical data may provide a basis for counteracting the recent political and fiscal reluctance to mitigate projected climate change.
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              IntCal13 and Marine13 Radiocarbon Age Calibration Curves 0–50,000 Years cal BP

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
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                Journal
                PLOS ONE
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (PLoS)
                1932-6203
                October 29 2020
                October 29 2020
                : 15
                : 10
                : e0240799
                Article
                10.1371/journal.pone.0240799
                © 2020
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