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CRANE Project

The CRANE (Computational Research on the Ancient Near East) Project is an international and interdisciplinary research project that aims to provide a platform for integration and analysis of archaeological data in the ancient Near East, beginning with the Orontes Watershed of southeast Turkey and northwest Syria. This data will be used to model and visualize how human communities developed in the region and how they interacted with the natural environment. Cornell Lab members Sturt Manning and Brita Lorentzen are working on the CRANE Chronology Project as part of the CRANE initiative.

The aim of the CRANE Chronology Project (directed by Sturt Manning) is to create a robust and high-resolution absolute timescale for the Orontes Watershed that spans the Bronze and Iron Ages (ca. 3500-500 BC). This timescale is being built from data from dendrochronological and 14C wiggle-matching on wood charcoal, 14C dates of short-lived organic remains (e.g., seeds and twigs), and detailed archaeological data (e.g., ceramics, stratigraphy, and architecture), which are integrated together into Bayesian chronological models. This work requires accurate wood species identification and anatomical analysis of wood charcoal remains, which Cornell Lab member Brita Lorentzen is undertaking. We are also conducting stable isotope analysis of selected charcoal samples to provide paleoenvironmental data for the project. Our work thus far has concentrated on samples and data from the sites of Tell Tayinat and Zincirli in southeastern Turkey, and is already yielding promising results.


Bayesian chronological model for Phases 2-6 at Tell Tayinat

<i>Quercus</i> section <i>Cerris</i> charcoal sample from Tell Tayinat (12x magnification)

Quercus section Cerris charcoal sample from Tell Tayinat (12x magnification)

<i>Cedrus libani</i> charcoal sample from Zincirli (25x magnification)

Cedrus libani charcoal sample from Zincirli (25x magnification)

SEM image of a radial section of <i>Pinus nigra</i> charcoal from Tell Tayinat

SEM image of a radial section of Pinus nigra charcoal from Tell Tayinat