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


Contact the University Libraries Journal Team with questions.

Recent Submissions

  • Upland Olive Domestication in the Chalcolithic Period: New 14C Determinations from el-Khawarij (Ajlun), Jordan

    Lovell, J. L.; Meadows, J.; Jacobsen, G. E. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
    New radiocarbon results on olive stones from el-Khawarij date olive cultivation at this site, in the Jordanian highlands, to the last 2 centuries of the 5th millennium cal BC. This period also sees the emergence of olive cultivation at Teleilat Ghassul, by the Dead Sea. The 10 new AMS dates were deliberately obtained from carbonized olive stones in order to date the exploitation of olives at el-Khawarij, a late prehistoric settlement believed to have been reliant on olive production. The results reveal a much longer span of occupation than hitherto suspected, including 2 dates that may fall later than 3900 cal BC (particularly OZI221, 3950-3530 cal BC). These later dates are in line with dates from other upland sites in the region, and may strengthen suggestions that Chalcolithic settlement persisted for longer in better watered upland areas (Lovell 2002). Further, an early date from a sample in a rock-cut installation in Area A suggests a much earlier date for occupation at the site, implying that upland olive exploitation may have commenced before 4700-4450 cal BC.
  • Towards On-Line 14C Analysis of Carbonaceous Aerosol Fractions

    Perron, N.; Szidat, S.; Fahrni, S.; Ruff, M.; Wacker, L.; Prévôt, A. H.; Baltensperger, U. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
    Atmospheric carbonaceous aerosol is traditionally divided into organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC). Their respective carbon amounts are usually analyzed by means of an OC/EC analyzer and their fossil and non-fossil origins can be determined by radiocarbon analysis, which has proven to be a powerful tool for carbonaceous aerosol source apportionment. Thus far, separation of OC and EC has been performed off-line by manual and time-consuming techniques. We present an on-line system that couples a commercial OC/EC analyzer with the gas ion source of the accelerator mass spectrometer (AMS) MICADAS and its CO2 feeding system. The performance achieved with reference materials and blanks are discussed to demonstrate the potential of this coupling for source apportionment of atmospheric carbonaceous particulate matter.
  • The Low-Energy Isobar Separator for Anions: Progress Report

    Kieser, W. E.; Eliades, J.; Litherland, A. E.; Zhao, X; Cousins, L.; Ye, S. J. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
    The suppression of interferences from atomic and molecular isobars is a key requirement for the extension of accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) to the analysis of new cosmogenic isotopes and for increasing the range of applications for small AMS systems. In earlier work, it was shown that unwanted isobars can be eliminated by anion-gas reactions (Litherland et al. 2007). Recently, a prototype system in which such reactions could be applied to ions from an AMS ion source, the Isobar Separator for Anions (ISA), was described (Eliades et al. 2009). This system decelerates the beam of rare anions from keV to eV energies, guides them through a single radiofrequency quadrupole (RFQ) gas cell, and re-accelerates them for further analysis in a 2.5MV AMS system. Tests of this system with Cl and S anions and NO2 gas showed a suppression of S with respect to Cl of over 6 orders of magnitude, with a transmission of ~30% for the Cl beam. In this work, results of the analysis of a range of standard reference materials are reported; these show the linearity of the system for measuring the 36Cl/35Cl ratio over a span of 2 orders of magnitude. Further tests, using the AMS system as a diagnostic tool, have provided clues about the loss of Cl at higher cell pressure and the nature of the residual low level of S transmission. These lead to the assessment of various gases for cooling the Cl- beam. Suppression measurements for 41K in the analysis of 41Ca, using NO2 as a reaction gas, are also discussed. These preliminary measurements have provided data for the development of a more advanced system with separate cooling and reaction cells.
  • The Origin of Pottery in East Asia and Its Relationship to Environmental Changes in the Late Glacial

    Kuzmin, Y. V. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
    Mazar and Bronk Ramsey (2008) recently proposed that the Iron I/IIA transition in the Levant took place during the first half of the 10th century. In the first part of this article, we challenge their method and conclusions. We argue against the inclusion of charcoal in their model, which could lead to an 'old wood effect.' We also argue that in dealing with a transition date, all available data must be taken into consideration. In the second part of the article, we propose Bayesian Model I for the Iron I/IIA transition, which is based on 2 sets of data--for the periods immediately before and after this transition. Our model, along with the other 11 published Bayesian models for this transition that used only short-lived samples, agrees with the Low Chronology system for the Iron Age strata in the Levant and negates all other proposals, including Mazar's Modified Conventional Chronology. The Iron I/IIA transition occurred during the second half of the 10th century. In the third part of the article, we present a new insight on the Iron I/IIA transition. We propose that the late Iron I cities came to an end in a gradual process and interpret this proposal with Bayesian Model II. Mazar and Bronk Ramsey (2008) recently challenged Sharon et al. (2007; also Boaretto et al. 2005) and us (e.g. Finkelstein and Piasetzky 2003, 2007a,b) regarding the date of transition from the Iron I to the Iron IIA in the Levant. While we and Sharon et al. placed this transition in the second half of the 10th century BCE, Mazar and Bronk Ramsey positioned it 'during the first half of the 10th century BCE' and argued that 'the second half of the 10th century BCE should be included in the Iron IIA' (Mazar and Bronk Ramsey 2008:178). We discuss some problems in the methodology of Mazar and Bronk Ramsey that may have influenced their results. In particular, we discuss 1) the exclusion of data; 2) the inclusion of data (charcoal samples); and 3) show that even according to Mazar and Bronk Ramsey, excluding these samples position the late Iron I/IIA transition in the late 10th century. Finally, we present our own 2 Bayesian models for the Iron I/IIA transition.
  • The Late Paleolithic-Neolithic Transition in Korea: Current Archaeological and Radiocarbon Perspectives

    Bae, C. J.; Kim, J. C. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
    The application of chronometric dating studies in Korean archaeology has lagged behind similar research in China and Japan. The focus of this article is to provide an update on the accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dates derived from Korean Paleolithic and Early Neolithic sites. One of the major highlights from recent AMS 14C studies in Korea is that blade (and microblade) technologies may have diffused directly from Siberia, rather than through northern China as originally thought. In addition, a Neolithic wooden boat has been discovered in Korea that is as old as, if not older than, similar discoveries from eastern China. More detailed archaeological and chronometric studies in Korea in the coming years will certainly clarify many of the points mentioned here. In particular, through more detailed studies, we will be able to further evaluate the causal factors that provided the impetus for the Late Paleolithic-Neolithic transition in Korea.
  • The Keck Carbon Cycle AMS Laboratory, University of California, Irvine: Status Report

    Beverly, R. K.; Beaumont, W.; Tauz, D.; Ormsby, K. M.; von Reden, K. F.; Santos, G. M.; Southon, J. R. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
    We present a status report of the accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) facility at the University of California, Irvine, USA. Recent spectrometer upgrades and repairs are discussed. Modifications to preparation laboratory procedures designed to improve sample throughput efficiency while maintaining precision of 2-3 for 1-mg samples (Santos et al. 2007c) are presented.
  • The Effects of Rainfall on Carbon Isotopes of POC in the Teshio River, Northern Japan

    Aramaki, T.; Nakamura, Y-H.; Uchida, M.; Shibata, Y. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
    During a rainfall event in early September 2006, the transport behavior of particulate organic carbon (POC) in a small river (Teshio River, northern Japan) with alluvial plain and forest characteristics was investigated chiefly with carbon isotopes. The radiocarbon (∆14C value) of POC varied widely from -56 at the beginning of the rain event to -10 at peak rainfall. The ∆14C values have a positive correlation with C/N ratios and a negative correlation with 13C values except for the data from when both turbidity and water level were at their maximums due to rainfall. These results indicate that the sources of organic matter in the river come from the surface layer of soil as the water level rises during a rainfall event.
  • The Carbon Origin of Structural Carbonate in Bone Apatite of Cremated Bones

    Van Strydonck, M.; Boudin, M.; Mulder, G. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
    In order to reveal a possible carbon exchange between carbon dioxide of the fuel and the bone apatite during the cremation process an experiment was set up using fossil fuel. Two setups were constructed, one using natural gas and one using coal. In both experiments, a carbon substitution in the apatite was revealed.
  • The Chronology of Pleistocene Modern Humans in China, Korea, and Japan

    Keates, S. G. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
    The chronological status of Pleistocene fossils of early modern humans in the People's Republic of China is based almost exclusively on indirect dating of the stratigraphic context and faunal and radiocarbon dating of associated or supposedly associated archaeological specimens. A similar pattern is observed in Korea and Japan. This paper examines the 14C and other dating techniques of early modern humans in East Asia to gain a more complete and up-to-date understanding of their chronology.
  • The Artemidorus Papyrus: Solving an Ancient Puzzle with Radiocarbon and Ion Beam Analysis Measurements

    Fedi, M. E.; Carraresi, L.; Grassi, N.; Migliori, A.; Taccetti, F.; Terrasi, F.; Mandò, P. A. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
    Ancient papyrus manuscripts are one of the most fascinating sources for reconstructing not only ancient life habits but also past literature. Recently, an amazing document has come to the fore due to the heated debates it raised: the so-called Artemidorus papyrus. It is a very long scroll (about 2.5 m) composed of several fragments of different sizes, with inscriptions and drawings on both sides. On the recto of the document, a text about geography and some drawings of heads, feet, and hands are present, while on the verso there are many sketches of animals, both real and fantastic. Its importance in classical studies comes from the fact that some scholars claim that it is the first known transcription of a relatively large fragment by the Greek geographer Artemidorus. However, other scholars think that the papyrus is a fake, drawn in the 19th century AD by a well-known forger. In order to overcome all possible ambiguities, the papyrus has been studied not only on the basis of historical and paleographic criteria but also by scientific techniques. We have contributed to the knowledge about the papyrus by radiocarbon dating the document and by analyzing the composition of the ink using ion beam analysis (IBA). Results are compatible with the scroll being an ancient manuscript: accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) 14C measurements have dated the papyrus to a period between the 1st century BC and 1st century AD, while IBA measurements have pointed out the use of an organic (carbon-based) ink, which was typical of ancient Roman and Greek times. Details of the measurements are presented to emphasize the importance of combining AMS and IBA results.
  • Table of Contents

    Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01
  • Submarines, Quarks, and Radioisotope Dating

    Muller, R. A. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
  • Radionuclides in Ancient Relics Obtained from the Matsusaki Site and the Hirohata Shellmound on the Pacific Coast of Japan

    Ohta, T.; Mahara, Y.; Kubota, T.; Saito, Y.; Fukutani, S.; Fujii, T.; Ando, A.; Nakata, E.; Nakano, T.; Abe, Y.; et al. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
    We compared 2 archaeological relics of different preservation environments, white substances adhering to a vessel from the Matsusaki site and to earthenware from Hirohata, by measuring their environmental radioactivity, 14C, 228Ra/226Ra, 234U/238U, and 87Sr/86Sr, and major element contents (Ca, Sr, Mg, Fe, and Mn). The results showed that the 2 materials were somewhat different and also reflected differences in their preservation environments. The chemical elements that were more abundant in the Matsusaki sample than in the Hirohata sample, Fe, Mn, 238U, and 232Th (parent of 228Ra), are also abundant in seaweed or seagrass. Contamination by 14C derived from rainwater after atmospheric nuclear tests was clearly observed in the white substance from Hirohata.
  • Refining Background Corrections for Radiocarbon Dating of Bone Collagen at ORAU

    Wood, R. E.; Bronk Ramsey, C.; Higham, T. F. G. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
    During the laboratory pretreatment of samples for radiocarbon dating, small amounts of carbon may be added to a sample. Contamination can be incorporated at any stage: during chemical pretreatment, combustion to CO2, graphitization, or accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) measurement. Such carbon contamination is often modern in age, and so can have an especially severe effect on samples older than ~25 ka BP. During the extraction of collagen from bone using the ultrafiltration protocol at the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit (ORAU), small amounts of young carbon are added to the sample. Currently, this contamination is poorly characterized when less than 10 mg of collagen is extracted from a bone. Demand to date small collagen samples with 14C concentrations that approach the detection limit of AMS measurement has increased recently with the growing interest in, for example, directly dating Neanderthal remains and Upper Paleolithic bone artifacts. This paper aims to reduce the minimum collagen sample size required to produce a reliable date from 10 to 5 mg by re-examining the combustion background and subsequently the pretreatment background for bone. The average of 136 measurements of directly combusted nylon suggests that 0.0007 0.001 mg of modern carbon is added to each sample, although the distribution is positively skewed. Regression analysis of the measurements of 52 collagen samples extracted from a bone of background age results in a background of just less than 50,000 BP for bone treated at ORAU.
  • Radiocarbon in the Air of Central Europe: Long-Term Investigations

    Svetlik, I.; Povinec, P. P.; Molnár, M.; Vána, M.; Šivo, A.; Bujtás, T (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
    Regional levels of radiocarbon have been monitored in order to investigate the impact of fossil fuel combustion on the activity of atmospheric 14CO2 in central Europe. Data from atmospheric 14CO2 monitoring stations in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary for the period 2000-2008 are presented and discussed. The Prague and Bratislava monitoring stations showed a distinct local Suess effect when compared to the Jungfraujoch clean-air monitoring station. However, during the summer period, statistically insignificant differences were observed between the low-altitude stations and the high-mountain Jungfraujoch station. 14C data from the Hungarian monitoring locality at Dunafldvr and the Czech monitoring station at Kosetice, which are not strongly affected by local fossil CO2 sources, indicate similar grouping and amplitudes, typical for a regional Suess effect.
  • Radiocarbon Dating of Kohitsugire Calligraphies Attributed to Asukai Masatsune and the Periods of Origin of Genji Monogatari Emaki and Ban-dainagon Ekotoba

    Oda, H.; Ikeda, K. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
    Genji monogatari emaki and Ban-dainagon ekotoba are Japanese national treasures. Although the periods in which they were painted have not been accurately determined, radiocarbon dating cannot be applied to these priceless artifacts because of the destructive nature of 14C dating. In this study, the periods of their origin were determined by 14C dating the kohitsugire calligraphy. Kohitsugire are ancient paper sheets containing graceful calligraphy. They originally were part of ancient manuscripts. Two kohitsugire named Imaki-gire and Kingin-kirihaku-wakanroeishu-gire are written in the same style as Genji monogatari emaki and Ban-dainagon ekotoba. Although Imaki-gire and Kingin-kirihaku-wakanroeishu-gire had been attributed to Asukai Masatsune (AD 1170-1221) on the basis of the kiwamefuda certificates, recent calligraphical and paleographical studies suggest that they are genuine handwritings of Fujiwara no Norinaga (AD 1109-1180). We applied 14C dating by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) to Imaki-gire and Kingin-kirihaku-wakanroeishu-gire. The calibrated 14C ages of both the kohitsugire indicated timing close to the peak of Fujiwara no Norinaga's career as a calligraphist. Based on the associations between the dated texts and the 14C results, it is concluded that the Genji monogatari emaki and Ban-dainagon ekotoba paintings could have been created in the middle of 12th century.
  • Radiocarbon Dating, Stable Isotope Analysis, and Diet-Derived Offsets in 14C Ages from the Klin-Yar Site, Russian North Caucasus

    Higham, T.; Warren, R.; Belinskij, A.; Härke, H.; Ood, R. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
    The influence of geothermally derived carbon on the radiocarbon dating of human bone from archaeological sites is poorly understood and has rarely been rigorously examined. This study identifies a previously unknown reservoir effect at the archaeological site of Klin-Yar in the Russian North Caucasus. AMS-dated human bones yielded results that were older than expected when compared with dates of coins found in the same grave contexts. We investigated the reasons for this offset by AMS dating modern plant, fish, and water samples to examine the source of the old carbon. We identified a potential source in geothermally derived riverine and spring water, with an apparent age of several thousand years, and hypothesize that carbon from here is being transferred through the food chain to humans. If humans consume resources from the local rivers, such as fish, then they ought to be affected by this reservoir offset. An extensive analysis of carbon and nitrogen isotopes of human and animal bone showed evidence for a mixed diet that may be masking the amount of freshwater-derived protein being consumed. Due to the highly variable nature of the 14C offset (0 to ~350 yr), no suitable average correction factor is applicable to correct for the human dates at the site. A 14C chronology based on dates obtained from terrestrial ungulate bones, which we subsequently obtained, is instead a more reliable indicator of age.
  • Radiocarbon Dates Documenting the Neolithic-Bronze Age Transition in Korea

    Kim, J. C.; Bae, C. J. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
    We report radiocarbon dates for ~150 archaeological sites in Korea belonging to the Neolithic-Bronze Age transition period. From the present compilation, we find that the Neolithic-Bronze Age transition in Korea started as early as ~2300 BC and continued over the course of 800-900 yr with peaks representing population increases occurring 2-3 times. Compared with cases in other regions of the world, the Neolithic-Bronze Age transition in Korea was similar in both magnitude and transition time. However, the process in Korea appears to have occurred about 2000 yr later. Further, we find that the attempt to explain the Neolithic-Bronze Age transition in Korea as a migration hypothesis based only on a sudden population increase is not tenable.
  • Radiocarbon Dating of Individual Amino Acids from Archaeological Bone Collagen

    McCullagh, J. S. O.; Marom, A.; Hedges, R. E. M. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
    Since the development of accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) for radiocarbon dating in the late 1970s, its ability to date small samples of bone has been of huge importance in archaeology and Quaternary paleoecology. The conventional approach to sample preparation has been to extract and gelatinize protein, which is then combusted and graphitized for analysis. However, this 'bulk protein' can contain a heterogeneous mixture of non-collagenous molecules, including humic acids and other soil components that may be of a different age than the bone and therefore affect the accuracy of its 14C date. Sample pretreatment methods have been an important area of development in recent years but still show inadequacies for the dating of severely contaminated bone. The idea of isolating and dating individual compounds such as single amino acids, to improve dating accuracy, has been discussed in the literature since the 1960s. Hydroxyproline, for example, makes up over 10% of bone collagen but is extremely rare in most other animal proteins, increasing the chances of its presence being endogenous to the individual being dated. Its successful isolation has therefore been considered a potential 'gold standard' for dating archaeological bone; however, extracting and suitably purifying single amino acids from bone has proved a challenging task. This paper presents a novel method for the compound-specific 14C dating of individual amino acids, including hydroxyproline, from archaeological bone protein. It is based on a preparative, mixed-mode liquid chromatography separation of underivatized amino acids, entirely in aqueous solution and free of organic solvents. The method is presented here in detail including application to standard bone samples establishing its accuracy and background carbon contribution. Results from 14C dating hydroxyproline and other individual amino acids, from both historical and archaeological bone, are shown to provide AMS dates that are statistically indistinguishable from those of the bulk protein.
  • Radiocarbon Chronology for Early Caves of the Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang, China

    Qinglin, G.; Takabayashi, H.; Nakamura, T.; Gangquan, C.; Okada, K.; Bomin, S.; Yuquan, F.; Nishimoto, H. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
    The Mogao Grottoes site at Dunhuang is one of the largest stone cave temples in China. The site features 735 caves with Buddhist mural paintings. To investigate the chronology of early caves of the Mogao Grottoes, radiocarbon dates were measured by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) on plant remains collected from 4 caves: 268, 272, 275, and 285. Caves 268, 272, and 275 are regarded (by archaeological analysis) to be the earliest existing caves in the Mogao Grottoes. The fourth cave, 285, features inscriptions on the north wall mentioning the oldest dates of the Chinese Mogao era. Plant materials, taken from the plaster layer of mural paintings and core materials from statues, were collected as samples (n = 11) for AMS 14C dating at Nagoya University. Two samples from cave 275 gave calibrated 14C ages of cal AD 380-430 (1 sigma). The other samples resulted in a time interval of cal AD 400-550. The calibrated 14C ages obtained for the samples taken from painted murals and the statues in cave 285 are consistent with the date given by the inscription remaining on the cave's north wall.

View more