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Terrace Archaeology

and Culture in Europe

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Develop terrace chronologies and dating methodologies… 

One of the main reasons that agricultural terraces have been so neglected is due to the major difficulty of dating them (Gibson 2015; Kinnaird et al. 2017). This is because un-reworked organic material for radiocarbon dating (e.g. charcoal, wood) is rarely preserved in terraces making it difficult to detect not only the earliest phases of construction but also abandonment and re-use. The development, and refinement, of direct sediment-dating techniques particularly OSL and more recently cosmogenic isotopes potentially allows direct dating of the terrace fill. Cosmogenic isotopes such as 10Be can be used to assess soil truncation or denudation (Bierman & Nichols 2004) and for burial dating (Granger & Muzikar 2001). The use of OSL in similar colluvial soils reviewed by Lang (2013a/b) and recent work in Israel and Spain has shown that OSL can document a complex history of terrace construction and collapse (Gibson 2015; Gadot et al. 2016; Kinnaird et al. 2017) which has hydrological implications (Bellin et al. 2009).