• 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 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.
    • 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)
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • MICADAS: Routine and High-Precision Radiocarbon Dating

      Wacker, L.; Bonani, G.; Friedrich, M.; Hajdas, I.; Kromer, B.; Němec, N.; Ruff, M.; Suter, M.; Synal, H.-A.; Vockenhuber, C. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
      The prototype mini carbon dating system (MICADAS) at ETH Zurich has been in routine operation for almost 2 yr. Because of its simple and compact layout, setting up a radiocarbon measurement is fast and the system runs very reliably over days or even weeks without retuning. The stability of the instrument is responsible for the good performance in highest-precision measurements where results of single samples can be reproduced within less than 2. The measurements are described and the performance of MICADAS is demonstrated on measured data.
    • Measuring Submicron-Size Fractionated Particulate Matter on Aluminum Impactor Disks

      Buchholz, B. A.; Zermeño, P.; Wang, H-M.; Young, T. M.; Guilderson, T. P. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
      Submicron-sized airborne particulate matter (PM) is not collected well on regular quartz or glass fiber filter papers. We used a micro-orifice uniform deposit impactor (MOUDI) to fractionate PM into 6 size fractions and deposit it on specially designed high-purity thin aluminum disks. The MOUDI separated PM into fractions 56-100, 100-180, 180-320, 320-560, 560-1000, and 1000-1800 nm. Since the MOUDI has a low flow rate (30 L/min), it takes several days to collect sufficient carbon on 47-mm foil disks. The small carbon mass (20-200 g C) and large aluminum substrate (~25 mg Al) present several challenges to production of graphite targets for accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) analysis. The Al foil consumes large amounts of oxygen as it is heated and tends to melt into quartz combustion tubes, causing gas leaks. We describe sample processing techniques to reliably produce graphitic targets for 14C AMS analysis of PM deposited on Al impact foils.
    • Letter from the Editor

      Jull, A. J. T. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
    • Laser-Heated Microfurnace: Gas Analysis and Graphite Morphology

      Smith, A. M.; Yang, B.; Hua, Q.; Mann, M. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
      We describe progress in developing a novel miniaturized laser-heated 'microfurnace' aimed at preparing ultra-small (~5 g) graphite samples from CO2 (Smith et al. 2006, 2007, 2010). Recent effort has focused on automation of the process using a LabVIEW interface, which has permitted feedback control of the catalyst temperature as the reaction proceeds and the logging of reaction parameters. We trialed a number of different pure iron catalysts as well as Fe2O3 (which is reduced in situ to iron) and discuss the reaction rates. We studied the graphite morphology by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and found there is a marked difference in graphite morphology with catalyst type. We assessed how each catalyst performs in the cesium sputter ion source of the ANTARES Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) facility. We utilized a quadrupole mass spectrometer to study the gas composition during the reaction, in order to better understand the underlying chemical reactions for such small samples and to better estimate the overall efficiency of the process. Results show that all CO2 is converted to CO by reduction on the iron catalyst within a few minutes of applying laser power. The reaction pressure stabilizes after 40 min; however, some CO is not converted to graphite. The cold trap temperature of -80 C is effective at trapping H2O, so there is little CH4 production.
    • Is More Precise Dating of Paleoindian Expansion Feasible?

      Fiedel, S. J.; Kuzmin, Y. V. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
      Recent efforts to precisely date the florescence of the Clovis culture in North America have been hampered by both practical and theoretical problems: 1) The era of Clovis expansion (about 11,200-10,700 BP or 13,200-12,700 cal BP) coincides with the gap between the anchored central European tree-ring sequence (back to 12,400 cal BP) and the floating Bolling-Allerod sequence; 2) Clovis seems to immediately precede the onset of the Younger Dryas (YD) stadial. The "black mats" of the US Southwest appear to mark the regional occurrence of this climatic downturn. However, the timing and means of long-distance propagation of this climatic event are not yet well understood. Greenland ice cores (GISP2, GRIP, and NGRIP) remain poorly synchronized, with a discrepancy of 100 to 250 yr for the date of onset (as late as 12,700 cal BP, or as early as 12,950 cal BP); 3) The YD onset was accompanied by a rapid drop of radiocarbon ages from 11,000 to 10,600 BP in less than a century. The mechanism causing this was probably a change in overturning circulation in the North Atlantic. Do variable Clovis ages, often from what appear to be single-occupation contexts, reflect this "cliff" effect, slightly earlier minor reversals during the late Allerd, or simply the practical limitations of precision of the 14C method? 4) Dates for Fishtail or Fell I sites (with fluted, stemmed points) in southern South America are statistically indistinguishable from Clovis dates in North America. Does this imply very rapid population expansion, diffusion of tool-making techniques through long-established local populations (as argued by Waters and Stafford 2007), or abnormally large interhemispheric 14C offsets? 5) Are recent ostensibly high-precision collagen-derived dates for Paleoindian-associated fauna (e.g. horse and mammoth) reliable? Are interlaboratory blind tests of the new filtration processes necessary?
    • Improved AMS 14C Dating of Shell Carbonates Using High-Precision X-Ray Diffraction and a Novel Density Separation Protocol (CarDS)

      Douka, K.; Hedges, R. E. M.; Higham, T. F. G. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
      One critical variable in the successful application of radiocarbon dating is the effective removal of carbonaceous contaminants. In the case of marine carbonates, contamination appears usually in the form of secondary low-magnesium calcite, the stable polymorph of calcium carbonate and byproduct of the post-mortem recrystallization or replacement of the autochthonous phase, originally in the form of high-magnesium calcite or aragonite. Depending on the nature of the depositional environment, the secondary phase may be contemporary in age with the original shell carbonate and may have even been derived from it by dissolution-recrystallization processes, or can be an exogenous contaminant of younger or older age. The limited ability of current pretreatment protocols to detect and remove the secondary mineralogical phases prior to dating carbonates has been one of the reasons marine shell and coral 14C determinations are often difficult to validate in terms of their reliability. We have developed a new pretreatment protocol designed to achieve greater reliability and accuracy in the dating of this material. The method entails 2 steps. The first one involves the improved detection and quantification of secondary calcite in aragonite using X-ray diffraction, at a precision of ~0.1% and ~0.8%, respectively. Next, where this is required, a novel density separation step using non-toxic heavy liquids (CarDS) is applied to the diagenetic sample. This enables the clear separation of calcite and aragonite, with only the latter kept for dating. We have applied the new steps, screening and separation, on standard and archaeological examples and our initial results suggest that it is successful and reproducible. In this paper, we describe the method and initial results.
    • Improved Application of Bomb Carbon in Teeth for Forensic Investigation

      Wang, N.; Shen, C. D.; Ding, P.; Yi, W. X.; Sun, W. D.; Liu, K. X.; Ding, X. F.; Fu, D. P.; Yuan, J.; Yang, X. Y.; et al. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
      While radiocarbon is widely applied in dating ancient samples, recent studies reveal that 14C concentrations in modern samples can also yield precise ages due to the atmospheric testing of thermonuclear devices between 1950 and 1963. 14C concentrations in both enamel and organic matter of 13 teeth from 2 areas in China were examined to evaluate and improve this method of forensic investigation. Choosing enamel near the cervix of the tooth can reduce the error caused by the difference between the sample formation time and whole enamel formation time because tooth enamel formations take a long time to complete. A proper regional data set will be helpful to get an accurate result when calculating the age of the sample (T1) by the CALIBomb program. By subtracting the enamel formation time (t), the birth date of an individual (T2) can be confirmed by enamel F14C from 2 teeth formed at different ages. Calculated enamel formation dates by 14C concentration are basically consistent with corresponding actual values, with a mean error of 1.9 yr for all results and 0.2 yr for the samples formed after AD 1960. This method is more effective for dating samples completed after AD 1960. We also found that 14C concentrations in organic matter of tooth roots are much lower than atmospheric concentrations in root formation years, suggesting that the organic material keeps turning over even after tooth formation is complete. This might be a potential tool for identification of death age to extract a proper component for 14C dating. We also observed that delta-13C values between hydroxyapatite and organic matter indicate that isotopic fractionation during the biomineralization is 8-9‰ more positive in mineral fractions than in organic matter.
    • High-Precision Radiocarbon Dating of the Construction Phase of Oakbank Crannog, Loch Tay, Perthshire

      Cook, G. T.; Dixon, T. N.; Russell, N.; Naysmith, P.; Xu, S.; Andrian, B. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
      Many of the Loch Tay crannogs were built in the Early Iron Age and so calibration of the radiocarbon ages produces very broad calendar age ranges due to the well-documented Hallstatt plateau in the calibration curve. However, the large oak timbers that were used in the construction of some of the crannogs potentially provide a means of improving the precision of the dating through subdividing them into decadal or subdecadal increments, dating them to high precision and wiggle-matching the resulting data to the master 14C calibration curve. We obtained a sample from 1 oak timber from Oakbank Crannog comprising 70 rings (Sample OB06 WMS 1, T103) including sapwood that was complete to the bark edge. The timber is situated on the northeast edge of the main living area of the crannog and as a large and strong oak pile would have been a useful support in more than 1 phase of occupation and may be related to the earliest construction phase of the site. This was sectioned into 5-yr increments and dated to a precision of approximately 8-16 14C yr (1 ). The wiggle-match predicts that the last ring dated was formed around 500 BC (maximum range of 520-465 BC) and should be taken as indicative of the likely time of construction of Oakbank Crannog. This is a considerable improvement on the estimates based on single 14C ages made on oak samples, which typically encompassed the period from around 800-400 BC.
    • Fish Reservoir Effect on Charred Food Residue 14C Dates: Are Stable Isotope Analyses the Solution?

      Boudin, M.; Van Strydonck, M.; Crombé, P.; De Clercq, W.; van Dierendonck, R. M.; Jongepier, H.; Ervynck, A.; Lentacker, A. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
      In order to verify the relative dating based on pot type morphology and decoration of the Swifterbant pottery collected at the Final Mesolithic site of Doel "Deurganckdok" (Belgium) and of the Late Iron Age pottery excavated at Grijpskerke (the Netherlands), direct radiocarbon dates were obtained on charred food residue preserved on the inner surface of numerous potsherds. In addition, a number of indirect 14C dates were obtained from samples of organic material. In the case of Doel, the results indicate an important incompatibility between the charred food residue dates and the other dates, the former being systematically older. This difference may be explained by a reservoir effect of the charred food residue, caused by the processing of (freshwater) fish. The 14C dates for the rijpskerke site are in agreement between the charred food residue and the organic material. The stable isotopes of the charred food residue were analyzed to demonstrate fish processing in the pottery, but the results were inconclusive.
    • Fire History of a Giant African Baobab Evinced by Radiocarbon Dating

      Patrut, A.; Mayne, D. H.; Von Reden, Karl F.; Lowy, Daniel A.; van Pelt, Robert; McNichol, Ann P.; Roberts, Mark L.; Margineanu, D. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
      The article reports the first radiocarbon dating of a live African baobab (Adansonia digitata L.), by investigating wood samples collected from 2 inner cavities of the very large 2-stemmed Platland tree of South Africa. Some 16 segments extracted from determined positions of the samples, which correspond to a depth of up to 15-20 cm in the wood, were processed and analyzed by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). Calibrated ages of segments are not correlated with their positions in the stems of the tree. Dating results indicate that the segments originate from new growth layers, with a thickness of several centimeters, which cover the original old wood. Four new growth layers were dated before the reference year AD 1950 and 2 layers were dated post-AD 1950, in the post-bomb period. Formation of these layers was triggered by major damage inside the cavities. Fire episodes are the only possible explanation for such successive major wounds over large areas or over the entire area of the inner cavities of the Platland tree, able to trigger regrowth.
    • Experimental Study on the Origin of Cremated Bone Apatite Carbon

      Hüls, C. M.; Erlenkeuser, H.; Nadeau, M.-J.; Grootes, P. M.; Andersen, N. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
      Changes of the Aral Sea level have been observed in 3 sediment boreholes, 2 outcrops, and associated archaeological sites. The obtained results are supported by 25 radiocarbon dates. Major trends of lake-level changes have been reconstructed in some detail for the last 2000 yr, and additional data provide an outline of fluctuations throughout the Holocene. Several distinct changes are shown to precede the modern, human-induced regression of the Aral Sea. These include: 1) the latest maximum in the 16th-20th centuries AD (53 m asl); 2) a Medieval "Kerderi" minimum of the 12th-15th centuries AD (29 m asl); 3) the early Medieval maximum of the 4th-11th centuries AD (52 m asl); and 4) a near BC/AD lowstand, whose level is not well established. Since then, events are only inferred from sparse data. The studied cores contain several sandy layers representing the lowering of the lake level within the Holocene, including the buried shore-bar of ~4500 cal BP (38 m asl), and shallow-water sediments of ~5600 cal BP (44 m asl), 7200 cal BP (28 m asl), and 8000 cal BP (26.5 m asl).
    • Establishing a Firm Chronological Framework for Neolithic and Early Dynastic Archaeology in the Shangluo Area, Central China

      Zhu, Y.; Cheng, P.; Yu, S-Y.; Yu, H.; Kang, Z.; Yang, Y.; Jull, A. J. T.; Lange, T.; Zhou, W. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2010-01-01)
      Technological and theoretical advancements in modern radiocarbon chronology make the precise dating of archaeological and geological events possible. Here, we show examples of how these state-of-the-art methods can be used to establish and refine the archaeological cultural chronology for the Shangluo area in the Qinling Mountains of central China. In this study, the Donglongshan and Zijing sites were dated using the high-precision accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) 14C method. Also, detailed magnetic-susceptibility measurements were conducted at both sites to gain preliminary information about past climate changes. The 14C dates, after being treated with Bayesian statistics, provide a firm constraint on the archaeological chronological framework for this area. Within this framework, the Malan loess-Holocene soil transition can be placed at 10,400-10,090 BC, while the duration of the Yangshao and Longshan cultures was dated to ~4200-2900 and ~2900-2100 BC, respectively, revealing an undisrupted history of human occupation in this area until the early dynastic period. Magnetic susceptibility values began to increase in the early Holocene, indicating a progressive amelioration of regional climate. The widespread development of paleosol during the middle Holocene indicates that warm and wet climate conditions prevailed, providing a favorable environmental context within which the Yangshao culture thrived. Magnetic susceptibility values then decreased from ~2100 BC when the Xia Dynasty started, and loess accumulated again, pointing to cooling and drying climate conditions that may have led to a cultural transition from the Neolithic to the dynastic civilization.