Radiocarbon is the main international journal of record for research articles and date lists relevant to 14C and other radioisotopes and techniques used in archaeological, geophysical, oceanographic, and related dating.

This archive provides access to Radiocarbon Volumes 1-54 (1959-2012).

As of 2016, Radiocarbon is published by Cambridge University Press. The journal is published quarterly. Radiocarbon also publishes conference proceedings and monographs on topics related to fields of interest. Visit Cambridge Online for new Radiocarbon content and to submit manuscripts.

ISSN: 0033-8222


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Recent Submissions

  • Systematic 14C Dating of a Unique Early and Middle Bronze Age Cemetery at Xeropigado Koiladas, West Macedonia, Greece

    Maniatis, Y.; Ziota, Ch (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2011-09-16)
    Systematic radiocarbon dating was performed on a unique EBA-MBA cemetery at Xeropigado Koiladas situated at the edge of the Kitrini Limni basin in the Kozani area, northwest Greece. It was found that this cemetery had a particularly long period of use of ~700 yr (between about 2420 and 1730 BC), which is especially pronounced if compared with the relatively small number of burials totaling 222. The dating revealed no spatial differentiation with time; the entire area of the cemetery was used throughout the time. There is a tendency of the dates to concentrate mostly in the time ranges 2200-2030 and 2000-1850 BC, which may tentatively suggest a more intense use of the cemetery during these periods. The results from multiple or consequent burials revealed that this cemetery was a landmark visible to the people of that time for at least 500 yr, if not for the entire period of its use. Some of the graves were built on top of, or adjacent to, older ones without disturbing the old burials. This implies that the Xeropigado cemetery was an important place of reference for at least 25 generations! No settlements have been found yet in the area that could be associated with the Xeropigado cemetery. Some synchronizations with various other sites in west Macedonia, for which 14C dates are available, are presented.
  • Table of Contents

    McClure, Mark (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2011-09-16)
  • Obituary: Jacques Labeyrie (1920–2011)

    Paterne, Martine (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2011-09-16)
  • New 14C Determinations from Lake Suigetsu, Japan: 12,000 to 0 cal BP

    Staff, Richard A.; Bronk Ramsey, Christopher; Bryant, Charlotte L.; Brock, Fiona; Payne, Rebecca L.; Schlolaut, Gordon; Marshall, Michael H.; Brauer, Achim; Lamb, Henry F.; Tarasov, Pavel; et al. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2011-09-16)
    Calibration is a fundamental stage of the radiocarbon (14C) dating process if one is to derive meaningful calendar ages from samples 14C measurements. For the first time, the IntCal09 calibration curve (Reimer et al. 2009) provided an internationally ratified calibration data set across almost the complete range (0 to 50,000 cal BP) of the 14C timescale. However, only the last 12,550 cal yr of this record are composed of terrestrial data, leaving approximately three quarters of the 14C timescale necessarily calibrated via less secure, marine records (incorporating assumptions pertaining to the temporally variable marine reservoir effect). The predominantly annually laminated (varved) sediment profile of Lake Suigetsu, central Japan, offers an ideal opportunity to derive an extended terrestrial record of atmospheric 14C across the entire range of the method, through pairing of 14C measurements of terrestrial plant macrofossil samples (extracted from the sediment) with the independent chronology provided through counting of its annual laminations.This paper presents new data (182 14C determinations) from the upper (largely non-varved) 15 m of the Lake Suigetsu (SG06) sediment strata. These measurements provide evidence of excellent coherence between the Suigetsu 14C data and the IntCal09 calibration curve across the last ~12,000 cal yr (i.e. the portion of IntCal based entirely on terrestrial data). Such agreement demonstrates that terrestrial plant material picked from the Lake Suigetsu sediment provides a reliable archive of atmospheric 14C, and therefore supports the site as being capable of providing a high-resolution extension to the wholly terrestrial (i.e. non-reservoir-corrected) calibration curve beyond its present 12,550 cal BP limit.
  • New Radiocarbon Dates for the Grenadine Islands (West Indies)

    Fitzpatrick, Scott M.; Giovas, Christina M. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2011-09-16)
    Intensified archaeological research in the Caribbean over the past 2 decades has provided a wealth of new information on how and when these islands were settled prehistorically. However, there has been a paucity of research on islands in the southern Lesser Antilles, which would allow for more rigorous testing of migration models and various settlement pattern hypotheses. To address some of these chronological and geographical gaps, we present a corpus of 41 radiocarbon dates from several sites in the Grenadine Island chain. Results to date support a relatively late Ceramic Age settlement of these smaller islands (about AD 400) compared to other nearby, larger islands in the southern Lesser Antilles (about AD 200) as well as the Caribbean as a whole (about 400/500 BC). Intriguing questions also remain as to an apparent, but as yet inadequately tested, pattern where earlier colonization dates are correlated with larger island size.
  • Monitoring the Presence of Humic Substances in Wool and Silk by the Use of Nondestructive Fluorescence Spectroscopy: Quality Control for 14C Dating of Wool and Silk

    Boudin, Mathieu; Boeckx, Pascal; Vandenabeele, Peter; Mitschke, Sylvia; Van Strydonck, Mark (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2011-09-16)
    Radiocarbon dating of degraded wool and silk provides 14C results of questionable reliability. In most cases, degraded wool/silk contains humic substances (HSs). Thus, a nondestructive fluorescence spectroscopy method, using a fiberoptic probe, was developed to monitor the presence of HSs in degraded wool and silk. This method can provide information about the presence of HSs before and after pretreatment and about the 14C age reliability. This study suggests considering with care wool/silk samples 14C dating wherein HSs are detected, because the conventional solvent pretreatment method using a NaOH wash is in most cases not sufficient to remove all humic substance contaminants. As a result, unreliable 14C dates can be provided.
  • Interlaboratory Variability of Radiocarbon Results Obtained from Blind AMS Analyses on Several Modern Carbon Samples

    Norton, Glenn (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2011-09-16)
    Three samples of modern-day vegetation collected in 2009–2010 and a sample of bioethanol produced in 2010 were analyzed for radiocarbon by 5 different accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) laboratories in a blind analysis study. The magnitude of any variability in the reported results for percent modern carbon (pMC) was observed. Results indicated that the interlaboratory repeatability on the samples of vegetation was generally very good, varying by no more than ~1 pMC for 2 of the 3 samples. Results for the bioethanol were less consistent, and varied by 5.5 pMC (ranging from 101.9 to 107.4 pMC). Variations in the 13C values used to correct for isotopic fractionation did not account for the variability observed in the pMC values for this sample. In view of the homogeneity of the bioethanol and its inherent simplicity in composition, this suggests that volatile liquid fuels may be more difficult to prepare for analysis without incurring significant sample processing errors. When viewing all of the results as a whole, the analytical errors (incorporating both instrumental and sample processing errors) appeared to be more random than systematic in nature. Because of analytical uncertainties in pMC measurements, as well as inherent local and regional variations in 14C activity levels known to occur in modern-day biomass, there is not a precise (accurate to 2 decimal places) correction factor for negating the bomb carbon effect that is applicable to all biofuels or other biobased products being analyzed in accordance with ASTM Method D6866. Therefore, a reasonable correction factor (currently set at 0.95) needs to be consistently applied in order to make comparisons of biobased content data from different laboratories more valid. Results from this study indicate that, for samples containing predominantly modern carbon, reporting results to the nearest 0.1 pMC is not warranted.
  • High-Precision Radiocarbon Measurements of Tree-Ring Dated Wood from New Zealand: 195 BC–AD 995

    Hogg, Alan; Palmer, Jonathan; Boswijk, Gretel; Turney, Chris (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2011-09-16)
    The best means for correcting Southern Hemisphere (SH) radiocarbon measurements, which are significantly influenced by temporal variations in the interhemispheric offset, is by the construction of a SH-specific calibration curve from dendrochronologically dated wood. We present here decadal 14C measurements on dendrochronologically secure New Zealand kauri (Agathis australis), covering the period 195 BC–AD 995, extending the range of calibration measurements from New Zealand tree rings to more than 2 millennia.Recently published Tasmanian huon pine (Lagarostrobos franklinii) data for the interval 165 BC to AD 1095 measured at the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (CAMS) have underestimated standard errors, which need to be re-assessed before the data can be considered for a Southern Hemisphere calibration curve update. The CAMS huon data, unlike the Waikato kauri data presented here, show a significant reduction in the SH offset for the interval AD 775–855. Although these data points are being checked, it is unlikely this represents a temporal geographic location-dependent offset. With re-assessed errors, the huon data set from 165 BC to AD 995 closely matches the new kauri data, with the combined data sets producing a mean interhemispheric offset with IntCal09 of 44 +/- 17 yr for the time interval 195 BC–AD 1845. This SH offset is lower than the modeled offset of 55–58 yr used in the construction of SHCal04, and we recommend the lower value be used in future SHCal updates. Although there is an apparent increase in higher frequency events in the SH offset (NZ kauri plus Tasmanian huon) from 200 BC–AD 1000, the reason for this remains unclear.
  • Erratum

    McClure, Mark (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2011-09-16)
  • Editorial Board

    McClure, Mark (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2011-09-16)
  • Dating the Lascaux Cave Gour Formation

    Genty, D.; Konik, S.; Valladas, H.; Blamart, D.; Hellstrom, J.; Touma, M.; Moreau, C.; Dumoulin, J-P.; Nouet, J.; Dauphin, Y.; et al. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2011-09-16)
    Lascaux Cave is renowned for its outstanding prehistoric paintings, strikingly well-preserved over about 18,000 yr. While stalagmites and stalactites are almost absent in the cave, there is an extensive calcite flowstone that covered a large part of the cave until its opening for tourists during the 1950s. The deposit comprises a succession of calcite rims, or gours, which allowed seepage water to pond in large areas in the cave. Their possible role in preservation of the cave paintings has often been evoked, but until now this deposit has not been studied in detail. Here, we present 24 new radiocarbon accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) and 6 uranium-thorium (U-Th) analyses from the calcite of the gours, 4 AMS 14C dates from charcoals trapped in the calcite, and 4 AMS 14C analyses on organic matter extracted from the calcite. Combining the calibrated 14C ages obtained on charcoals and organic matter and U-Th ages from 14C analyses made on the carbonate, has allowed the calculation of the dead carbon proportion (dcp) of the carbonate deposits. The latter, used with the initial atmospheric 14C activities reconstructed with the new IntCal09 calibration data, allows high-resolution age estimation of the gour calcite samples and their growth rates. The carbonate deposit grew between 9530 and 6635 yr cal BP (for dcp = 10.7 +/- 1.8%; 2 sigma) or between 8518 and 5489 yr cal BP (for dcp = 20.5 +/- 1.9%; 2 sigma). This coincides with humid periods that can be related to the Atlantic period in Europe and to Sapropel 1 in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. However, geomorphological changes at the cave entrance might also have played a role in the gour development. In the 1940s, when humans entered the cave for the first time since its prehistoric occupation, the calcite gours had already been inactive for several thousand years.
  • An Improved Pretreatment Protocol for Radiocarbon Dating Black Pigments in San Rock Art

    Bonneau, A.; Brock, F.; Higham, T.; Pearce, D. G.; Pollard, A. M. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2011-09-16)
    The dating of South African rock art using radiocarbon is a considerable challenge and only 1 direct date has so far been obtained, on black pigments from Sonias Cave Upper, Boontjieskloof. The main problem with direct dating these paintings is the presence of calcium oxalates behind, on, and within the pigment layers. Calcium oxalates are formed through lichen and bacterial action on the rock face. These reactions can sometimes take place over long periods and can incorporate carbon of a younger age into the pigments. This study aims to date black pigments from a rockshelter, RSA TYN2 (Eastern Cape, South Africa), by removing the calcium oxalate contamination. Two different protocols were tried: density separation and acidification. The latter successfully removed calcium oxalates and was therefore applied to 3 black pigment samples from the rockshelter. After acid pretreatment, accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) dating was undertaken on the remaining residues. Three results were obtained (2072 +/- 28 BP, 2100 +/- 40 BP, and 2083 +/- 32 BP), which constitute the oldest results so far obtained for direct dates on South African rock art. The most likely calibrated date range for the painting at this site is between 2120 and 1890 cal BP. The ages are in close agreement with each other and this consistency suggests that our preparation protocol has successfully removed the majority of the carbon contaminants.
  • Application of the Triple-Photomultiplier Liquid Spectrometer Hidex 300 SL in Radiocarbon Dating

    Krapiec, Marek; Walanus, Adam (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2011-09-16)
    The Hidex 300 SL is a liquid scintillation analyzer with an automatic sample changer and a triple-photomultiplier tube detection assembly that registers triple- as well as double-coincidence spectra. In the triple mode, the background in the 14C window is 13.7 cpm (14C standard 30.8 cpm; =154.3 cpm/5.01), so the factor of merit equals 8.7. The triple-to-double coincidence ratio (TDCR) allows for determining the 14C counting efficiency, the quench level, and quench correction. However, in the case of very low-activity samples, which is the case even for modern 14C samples, the TDCR is not the best method for the correction of benzene impurities. We propose using the position (channel) of the right slope of the sample (14C) logarithmic pulse-height spectrum. In the case of near-background samples, the cosmic muon peak can be used instead. The Monte Carlo modeling of spectra gave the 14C level below which the muon peak is a better quench correction parameter than the position of the 14C spectrum. The spectrometer, with the proposed quench correction method, was tested with wood samples dated dendrochronologically. For 21 samples, there is no systematic bias observed, and the standard deviation of the age differences scaled by the Poisson errors is 1.24 +/- 0.15, which means that the counting statistics account for 80% of the total variability (including sample preparation).
  • AMS Radiocarbon Dating Problems between 10 and 8 ka BP in Lacustrine Deposits from Lake Gun Nur, Northern Mongolia

    Chang, F. Q.; Zhang, H. C.; Ming, Q. Z.; Chen, G. J.; Zhang, W. X.; Shi, Z. T.; Feng, Z. D. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2011-09-16)
    Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dating a continuous core from Lake Gun Nur, northern Mongolia, shows a period between 10 and 8 ka BP that could not be dated accurately. Further dating on alkali-insoluble residue and humic acid from the same samples in the Gun Nur core suggest that this AMS 14C date anomaly is neither analytical nor material related. We hypothesize that the 14C anomaly may be derived from increasing production rates of 14C caused by diminished solar activity, a low 14CO2/14CO ratio in the atmosphere, or an unstable 14C flux in the lower atmosphere caused by changing geomagnetic field strength. Our results imply that the 14C data used for 14C age calibration cannot correct the age-depth regression between 8 and 10 ka BP to fit the age-depth model along with other time intervals.
  • A Comparison of Bone Pretreatment Methods for AMS Dating of Samples >30,000 BP

    Talamo, Sahra; Richards, Mike (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2011-09-16)
    Bone is a commonly used material for radiocarbon dating, yet at ages close to the limit of the method (30,000 BP), it is a substantial challenge to remove contamination and produce accurate ages. We report here on the preliminary results of a dating study of 2 bones older than 30,000 yr, which were each treated with a suite of pretreatment procedures, including ultrafiltration (Brown et al. 1988). Substantial differences in the 14C ages were observed, which is most likely linked to crucial steps in the removal of contamination both in the bone and in the laboratory. Using a comprehensive sequence of pretreatment procedures, including ultrafiltration, we obtain generally older ages.