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

PLoS ONE 15(10): e0240799


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.