Welcome to the home pages of our project!

The interdisciplinary project International Mortar Dating (1994-) aims at developing the method of 14C dating of historical mortars. The project was initiated in 1994 as an international extension of the project of the Åland churches (1990-). It has now developed into an independent project forming contacts with an entire network of researchers who share our interest in developing mortar dating. We aim at providing more information about the sampling procedures, the preparatory work and the interpretation of the results.

The usual goal of archaeological excavations is to pinpoint the chronology of the site investigated. All the traditional archaeological dating methods, such as dating artifacts, coins and ceramics, do in fact date the dwelling in and around the site, not necessarily the actual construction of the buildings. For that scientific dating is needed. But even traditional scientific dating – dendrochronology and 14C dating of wood and charcoal – are not enough, since they can date secondary building stages and repairs after destruction and fire.

Compared to all other datable materials mortar has the great advantage of existing in abundance in the original, from every stage of a stone or brick construction, and the hardening of the mortar actually dates the construction. For our team focusing on developing the method further therefore became a great challenge. If successful the method could pinpoint the entire building history of a single construction, and it could provide the key to innumerable unsolved questions, both in Medieval and in Classical archaeology.

We have reached a stage when we are able to share our knowhow with others who are interested in the method. We aim at continuously updating the state of research within our project. We also want to present our team and our international network of scholars, with contact information to the different collaborating14C AMS Laboratories involved and a bibliography for your orientation in the history of mortar dating.

Hopefully you will find this information helpful. Please feel free to comment on our homepages, we welcome any suggestions for improving the method of dating mortar.