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C14 Data Base - Foreword

Radiocarbon Database for Bolivia, Equador and Peru
Mariusz S. Ziółkowski, Mieczysław F. Pazdur, Andrzej Krzanowski, Adam Michczyński

- Overwiew
- Indices (database tables) [NEW VERSION!]
- Errata

The Radiocarbon Database ANDES presented in the volume mentioned in the text of M. S. Ziółkowski is undoubtedly a very good example of the so-called "domino effect". In phenomenon, the first block falling causes the fall of the next ones, but it is rather difficult to estimate the final results and extent of the whole process, especially in its initial stage. Looking back, we can not say, that we were then aware of the results that would be achieved through an arrangement, established in 1988, between the Andean Archaeological Mission of the Institute of Archaeology of Warsaw University and the Gliwice Radiocarbon Laboratory of the Physics Institute of Silesian Politechnical University. Our collaboration was primarily limited only to the realization and critical analysis of a series of radiocarbon datings for some archaeological projects carried out in Peru and Ecuador. The arrangements of the Andean Archaeological Mission with its two homologues, namely with the NASCA Project carried out by the Italian Archaeological Mission in Peru and with the "Alto Piura" Project carried into effect by Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru had an important part in this preliminary stage. We soon found out, that it was not only necessary to make analysis of our own radiocarbon datings, but also to compare them with other existing dates concerning the investigated cultures. Unfortunately, in the accessible lists of datings, numerous important data we needed were missing. We then decided to gather the lacking information ourselves; for that purpose we used a preliminary version of a database, which was initially elaborated for internal use at the Gliwice Radiocarbon Laboratory. At the same time, in the framework of the above mentioned archaeological research programmes, especially the NASCA Project, we planned to calibrate all released radiocarbon dates concerning the investigated cultures. We decided to do this calibration using the Gliwice Calibration Program, based on the newest (at that time) Pearson and Stuiver's calibration curves published in 1986 in Radiocarbon. At first, we intended to calibrate only the dates produced by the Gliwice Laboratory, together with those published in two lists, which we considered as the most complete: namely that of Ravines (1982) and that of Watson (1986). We realized however, that many dates, known to us from other sources, did not appear in the above mentioned publications. Consequently, taking into account the existing state of affairs and being aware (but probably not entirely) of innumerable and inevitable difficulties, we decided to prepare a new, more complete catalogue of the radiocarbon datings concerning mainly, although not excusively, the archaeological cultures of the Central - Andean area.

We agreed that the project would be carried out in the teritory of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. We are aware of the fact that this is not the most excellent solution, as it does not take into account the real cultural borders of the Central - Andean region. On the other hand, this method enabled a reasonably quick inquiry of sources, because laboratory catalogues and data published in, for exemple, Radiocarbon, are classified according to administrative borders of modern states.

We consider the possibility of expansion in the future of our catalogue at least to the areas of Northern Chile, North-Western Argentina and Southern Columbia.

As to the question of time limits, we intended to take into account all existing C-14 dates, also those that gave results concerning Colonial or even modern times. They could be valuable, as possible proof of reutilization of the archaeological sites in the Post-conquest period. We have also included datings from other, non-cultural contexts, issuing from geological, paleoclimatical and paleoecological researches.

As to the comparability of dates, we hope that the proposed method of presentation of the datings with a uniform calibration would give to every archaeologist the possibility of individual analysis and correction of the dates, in which he is interested. The catalogue is to be actualized and the gathered information made accessible to all the scholars interested in studies of the prehistory of America.

The first two years of our work was financed mainly by the University of Warsaw and the Polish Ministry of National Education, as a part of the initiatives connected with the commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of the Meeting of Two Worlds. The project was also on the list of the commemorative programmes supported by the UNESCO Committee of the Meeting of Two Worlds. In 1993 we received a grant from the Polish Committee for Scientific Research (KBN), for finalizing and publishing the ANDES Radiocarbon Database and also for preparing a similar database for Central - European Area.

Presenting the results of our work, we are well aware of the fact that, in spite of the rather exhaustive enquiry and the stringent cross-control we made, probably the present Catalogue is not complete neither exempt of some mistakes. Therefore we would be most thankful to the readers who inform us about any error they might come upon.

The Authors