Evaluating Radiocarbon Dates and Late Paleolithic Chronology in Korea

Chuntaek Seong


The number of chronometric dates for the Korean Paleolithic has grown substantially during the last decade or so. The present study compiles Late Paleolithic radiocarbon dates for Korea and evaluates their significance based on a critical reexamination of previous works (e.g., Graf 2009; Pettitt et al. 2003). Adopting simple quantitative and qualitative procedures, I categorize the published dates into three groups; accepted, tentative, and rejected. Dates labeled as tentative are then reconsidered in terms of their correspondence with stratigraphic evidence, dates obtained from other methods, and archaeological interpretation. The evaluated dates in turn provide a valuable database on which we can construct a workable chronology of changes in lithic technology and occupational history in the Late Paleolithic in the modern-day Korean Peninsula.

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