• New Dating Evidence for North Sea Trade between England, Scotland, and Norway in the 11th Century AD

      Hall, D. W.; Cook, G. T.; Hamilton, W. D. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
      This study follows on from previous research at Perth, Scotland, in which we dated carbonized food residues removed from the external surface of rim sherds of cooking pots of London Sandy Shellyware pottery (Museum of London Pottery Fabric Code SSW). The 15 residues that were dated produced 14C ages between 910 +/- 35 and 1085 +/- 40 BP. We have now carried out radiocarbon measurements on similar residues from the same fabric obtained from the Billingsgate excavations in London and the Bryggen excavations in Bergen, Norway. The London and Bergen measurements gave age ranges of 905 +/- 35 to 1115 +/- 35 BP and 920 +/- 35 to 1055 +/- 35 BP, respectively, both very similar to the Perth age range. The measurements at each site are in agreement with our Bayesian model assumption that they belong to a single phase of activity. The model estimates the introduction of London Sandy Shellyware in London to cal AD 820-1020, in Perth to cal AD 930-1020, and in Bergen to cal AD 980-1030 (95% probability). Further modeling predicts that it fell out of use in the reverse order.
    • Obituary: Austin Long

      Eastoe, C.; Leavitt, S.; Tanner Elliott, K.; Sewell, D. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
    • Optimization of 236U AMS at CIRCE

      De Cesare, Y.; Quinto, F.; Sabbarese, C.; D, N.; D'Onofrio, A.; Alanella, L.; Petraglia, A.; Roca, V.; Terrasi, F. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
      Actinide isotopes are present in environmental samples at ultra-trace levels (236U concentration is quoted to be on the order of pg/kg or fg/kg). Their detection requires the resolution of mass spectrometry (MS) techniques, but only accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) has the sensitivity required. In order to perform the isotopic ratio measurements of actinides, such as 236U/238U, an upgrade of the Center for Isotopic Research on Cultural and Environmental Heritage accelerator (CIRCE) in Caserta, Italy, has been performed. The system was originally equipped for radiocarbon AMS measurements. The main difficulty of AMS measurement of 236U is the intense neighboring beam of 238U. Although most of the 238U ions are suppressed by means of magnetic and electrostatic elements, a small fraction of this intense beam can interfere with the rare isotopes. This paper reports the preliminary results of the 236U/238U isotopic ratio measurement limit 5.6 x 10^(-11)), aimed also to better understand the origin of background ions. For this purpose, a large 16-strip silicon detector providing spatial resolution has been used. In addition, calculations to assess the performance of the system obtained by adding a high-resolution time of flight-energy (TOF-E) detector are discussed.
    • Paleodiet Reconstruction of Human Remains from the Archaeological Site of Natfieh, Northern Jordan

      Al-Bashaireh, K.; Al-Shorman, A.; Rose, J.; Jull, A. J. T.; Hodgins, G. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
      This investigation concerns human teeth and bones from the site of Natfieh, north Jordan. Nitrogen and carbon isotope analyses were used to model the paleo-economy by reconstructing Natfieh's paleodiet during a specific time period. 14C dating of human teeth and bones from the site of Natfieh, north Jordan, demonstrate that they belong to the Early Roman period and match the archaeological date from the tomb and grave goods typology. Stable isotope analyses of these humans have provided new information about the subsistence and society of individuals buried at Natfieh. Natfieh is today agriculturally productive and must have been so in antiquity with most of the foodstuffs having been produced locally. The long distance between Natfieh and the closest aquatic food source (Mediterranean Sea and Lake Tiberias) and the high cost of land transportation might be the reason for the low consumption of marine protein. The results agree with past research on the Roman diet showing that plants were the common source of food for the Romans and fish may have been restricted to elite members of the society.
    • Paleoenvironment of Medieval Archaeological Sites in Central Japan: Assemblage Analysis and 14C Dating of Insect Fossils

      Okuno, E.; Mori, Y.; Nakamura, T. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
      This study aimed to investigate the paleoenvironment of 2 Medieval archaeological sites, Onigashioya and Ooke, in central Japan, by assemblage analyses of insect fossils preserved in sediments at the sites. In the Onigashioya site located in Mie Prefecture, the sclerites of insect fossils classified as the "village" type were detected, which indicates that human activities, and in particular farming, were taking place there. Rice paddies and fields existed near the site, which explains why many insects harmful to rice plants and crops were detected in the area. The radiocarbon date for sclerite remains of Hydrophilus acuminatus, an aquatic beetle that live in rice paddy fields, was calibrated to be cal AD 1010-1155. Analysis of sclerite remains of Craspedonotus tibialis, a ground beetle that typically inhabits seashore environments, resulted in a date of cal AD 1020-1155. This finding suggests that human settlements existed in the seaside areas of the Onigashioya site in the 11th century AD. In the Ooke site located in Aichi Prefecture, "insect pits" were found, which are structural remains containing a large number of Anomala rufocuprea, an insect that preys on field crops. Farmers would have gathered the insects from the fields and buried the dead remains in the pits. Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) 14C dates on sclerite remains of A. rufocuprea ranged from cal AD 1264 to 1385. It should be noted that fruit trees and vegetable crops were planted widely around the site in the 13th century AD. As the result, A. rufocuprea propagated greatly around the site in that period. It is probable that many insects harmful to field crops multiplied largely in this region due to the development of local woods and plains into farming fields. This type of development occurred throughout Japan during the Medieval period.
    • Personal Recollections of a Good Experiment

      Nelson, E. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
    • Radiocarbon and Archaeology in Japan and Korea: What Has Changed because of the Yayoi Dating Controversy?

      Shoda, S. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
      Since the sensational 2003 announcement that pushed the start of the Yayoi period back by 500 yr, archaeologists working on 1st millennium BC material from northeast Asia have had to switch from the older short chronology to a new long chronology. However, this change need not apply to the entire northeast Asian region as China's chronology is tied to written records. The timeline of the Korean peninsula, intermediate between the Chinese and Japanese ones, needs to be reexamined. The chronology of the 1st millennium BC in the Korean peninsula is still in dispute, in part because many of the radiocarbon dates lack clear archaeological contexts. This paper shows that a reliable typological relationship observed in archaeological materials existed at this time linking northeast Asia from China to Japan. This paper includes absolute dates based on the initial AMS 14C measurements of charred crops from South Korean sites.
    • Radiocarbon and Tritium Levels along the Romanian Lower Danube River

      Varlam, Carmen; Stefanescu, Ioan; Cuna, Stela; Vagner, Irina; Faurescu, Ionut; Faurescu, Denisa (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
      The Lower Danube Basin covers the Romanian-Bulgarian sub-basin downstream from Cazane Gorge and the sub-basins of the Siret and Prut rivers. To extensively survey the Romanian nuclear power plant impact on the Danube water, tritium and radiocarbon baseline values are required. Therefore, the reported study tried to establish these values based on a 2-yr sampling campaign covering 975 km of the Danube from Cazane Gorge to Tulcea. The tributaries Cerna, Jiu, Olt, and Arges were also included in this study. During the sampling campaigns, tritium concentration of different sampling locations showed values between 7 ± 2.1 and 33.5 ± 2.3 TU. Measured 14C activity for the same locations ranged between 88.45 ± 1.46 and 112.36 ± 1.56 pMC. Lower values were recorded for tributaries: between 8.3 ± 2.1 and 12.2 ± 2.2 TU for tritium and between 67.3 ± 1.29 and 86.04 ± 1.42 pMC for 14C. Despite the nuclear activity in the observed areas, tritium and 14C activities presented slightly higher values for specific locations without any influence on Danube River water.
    • 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.
    • 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 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 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.
    • 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.
    • Submarines, Quarks, and Radioisotope Dating

      Muller, R. A. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
    • Table of Contents

      Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01
    • 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.
    • 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.