In the last 50 years, studies on the chronology of Neolithic cultures were dominated by the method of radiocarbon dating. The correctness of the chronological models based on this method can nowadays be verified only by means of the dendrochronology. This is possible for the finds from Switzerland, and also partly for those from southern Germany. These problems are discussed in this paper, by way of example of the Corded Ware culture (CWC) - one of the main Neolithic cultures in Central Europe. As a model territory for the analysis, the region of Zurich was chosen, namely the palafitte sites on the lakes: Zurich, Greifen and Pfäffiker. The period of development of the culture under discussion falls between ca 350-300 years (maximum from ca 2750 to 2400 BC).In comparison to Switzerland, the situation on the territories dated by means of the radiocarbon method looks different. The chronological models are characterised by a longer period of the CWC's existence and by the synchronicity of various cultural phenomena. In effect, two compared methods of dating resulted in emerging different points of view on the course of cultural processes. In the case of dendrochronological dating, looking upon archaeological cultures as competitive models was almost mechanically abandoned. Their distinctive attributes, which include mostly pottery, have become significant markers of particular chronology. At the same time, their role in determining distinct human groups, e.g. of ethnical character, has become less stressed.
Riotr Wlodarczak, Instytut Archeologii i Etnologii PAN, ul. Slawkowska 17, 31-016 Kraków, Poland
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