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Dating of Russian Hunting Stations in South Spitsbergen Using Dendrochronological and Radiocarbon Analyses

  • Jan Chochorowski (a1) and Marek Krąpiec (a2)

Excavations conducted in 1982–1987 by the Polish archaeological expedition of Jagiellonian University in the Sørkappland and Hornsund fjord regions of Spitsbergen encompassed the three Pomor hunting stations of Bjørnbeinflyene, Palffyodden, and Schönningholmane, and included relics from the landing site on the Tørrflya coast used by the Pomors. The wood recovered during the excavations, originating from wooden dwellings, monumental crosses, and a shipwreck, was subjected to dendrochronological analysis. In total, 26 samples were examined, which allowed for the following chronologies to be developed: SPITS_A3 (larch, 9 samples, 208 yr); SPITS_B1 (pine, 5 samples, 222 yr); and SPITS_C1 (spruce, 2 samples, 142 yr). The dendrochronological dating obtained for the spruce sequence was established as AD 1769–1910. The chronological position of the remaining sequences was established by means of wiggle-matching. The results suggest that the youngest rings of the larch sequence cannot be older than AD 1745, and the youngest rings of the pine sequence date within the period of AD 1697–1805 or 1837–1869. Absolute dates obtained for the wood from the huts from the northern part of Sørkappland are consistent with the chronological framework established based on historical data. Thus, the hypothesis positing pre-Barents chronology of the Russian promysl in the investigated area could not be confirmed.

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Selected Papers from the 2015 Radiocarbon Conference, Dakar, Senegal, 16–20 November 2015

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