• Dating of the Cultural Layers from Vilnius Lower Castle, East Lithuania: Implications for Chronological Attribution and Environmental History

      Mažeika, J.; Blaževičius, P.; Stančikaitė, M; Kisielienė, D. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Complex interdisciplinary studies carried out in the territory of the Vilnius Lower Castle, E Lithuania, were used to construct a chronological framework based on radiocarbon data and archaeological information. Bulk samples (wood and sediment) were collected from an approximately 3-m core that crossed cultural layers and underlying strata. 14C dates indicate that the underlying bed possibly formed during the 6th century AD, although no archaeological finds were discovered there. Paleobotanical (pollen and plant macrofossil) investigations reveal evidence of agriculture that points to the existence of a permanent settlement in the area at that time. The chronological data indicates a sedimentation hiatus before the onset of the deposition of the cultural layer in the studied area. The 14C dates showed that the formation of the cultural bed began during the late 13th-early 14th centuries AD, that is, earlier than expected according to the archaeological record. The ongoing deposition of the cultural beds continued throughout the middle to latter half of the 14th century AD as revealed by the archaeological records and confirmed by well-correlated 14C results. After some decline in human activity in the middle of the 14th century AD, a subsequent ongoing development of the open landscape, along with intensive agriculture, points to an increase in human activity during the second half of the 14th century AD. The first half of the 15th century AD was marked by intensive exploitation of the territory, indicating a period of economic and cultural prosperity. The chronological framework indicates that the investigated cultural beds continued forming until the first half of the 16th century AD.
    • Dating of the Tashtyk Cultural Remains from the Oglakhty Burial Ground (Southern Siberia)

      Zaitseva, G. I.; Pankova, S. V.; Vasiliev, S. S.; Dergachev, V. A.; Scott, E. M.; Sementsov, A. A.; Jungner, H.; Sonninen, E. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      The present research is focused on the dating of the Oglakhty burial ground, the key site of stage I of the Tashtyk culture. Despite the numerous well-preserved burials of that type investigated at the Oglakhty complexes, their chronological position has remained unclear. From the early 20th century until the present, 2 different time periods had been identified for the Tashtyk burials: (1) from the 1st century BC until the 1st century AD and (2) from the 1st until the 2nd century AD. New data obtained in the 1990s suggested a different age for Tashtyk burials, namely the 3rd-4th centuries AD. This considerable shift in chronology needed to be checked with independent data. The chronological position of one of the Oglakhty burials, tomb 4, has been investigated with the use of wiggle-matching, applied to wooden logs used in the construction of tomb 4. The resulting dates for this burial strongly suggest its age as being limited to the 3rd-4th centuries AD, which is corroborated by the archaeological dates of the imported artifacts found in the grave and which is in agreement with the chronological position of the Oglakhty site, as proposed by previous investigations.
    • The Impact of Cremated Bone Dating on the Archaeological Chronology of the Low Countries

      De Mulder, Guy; Van Strydonck, Mark; Boudin, Mathieu (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Since the publication of the first article (Lanting and van der Plicht 2001/2002) about the possibilities of dating cremated bones, the number of dated cremation remains has grown exponentially. The success of this dating technique lies in the fact that an absolute date now can be attributed to archaeological phenomena that previously were only datable indirectly. When archaeological artifacts where present, the cremation burials were dated based on the typology of ceramics and metals. An absolute date could be attributed if charcoal from the pyre were present. Unfortunately, these items were not omnipresent at the burial sites. Consequently, a complete site was dated by means of the few datable burials present. This implies that the internal chronology of the site could not be studied. Furthermore, the typochronology of the ceramics and the metals remains questionable. A series of dating projects on urnfield cemeteries in the Low Countries (northern France, Belgium, and the Netherlands) have shown that the classical chronology of these sites must be revised.
    • Mesolithic Human Bones from the Upper Volga Basin: Radiocarbon and Trace Elements

      Alexandrovskiy, A. L.; Alexandrovskaya, E. I.; Zhilin, M. I.; van der Plicht, J. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Human bones from 3 Mesolithic sites in the Upper Volga basin were analyzed for trace elements, and dated by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). The radiocarbon dates of the bones correspond to the Mesolithic era. However, some dates differ from those obtained for the enclosing deposits and for the worked wood fragments in the cultural layer. The elemental composition of the bones is interpreted in terms of increased concentrations of some elements and their impact on human health and behavior.
    • Table of Contents

      Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01
    • Temporal Change of Radiocarbon Reservoir Effect in Sugan Lake, Northwest China during the Late Holocene

      Zhou, Ai-feng; Chen, Fa-hu; Wang, Zong-li; Yang, Mei-lin; Qiang, Ming-rui; Zhang, Jia-wu (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Many lacustrine chronology records suffer from radiocarbon reservoir effects. A continuous, accurate varve chronology, in conjunction with accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) 14C dating, was used to determine the age of lacustrine sediment and to quantify the past 14C reservoir effect in Sugan Lake (China). Reservoir age varied from 4340 to 2590 yr due to 14C-depleted water in the late Holocene. However, during the Little Ice Age (LIA), 14C reservoir age was relatively stable. According to this study, 14C reservoir age in the late Holocene may be driven by hydrological and climatic changes of this period. Therefore, special caution should be paid to the correction of the 14C reservoir effect by a unique 14C reservoir age in paleoclimatic and paleolimnological study of northwest China.
    • New Radiocarbon Dates for the Early Neolithic of the Western Mediterranean

      Willigen, Samuel Van; Hajdas, Irka; Bonani, Georges (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Understanding of processes that determined the expansion of farming and animal husbandry in southwestern Europe is hampered by poor chronologies of the early Neolithic in this region. This paper presents new radiocarbon dates, which are used to construct such a chronological frame for a regional group of the most important culture of the early Neolithic in the western Mediterranean: the Cardial culture.
    • The Formation of Deluvial and Alluvial Cones as a Consequence of Human Settlement on a Loess Plateau: An Example from the Chroberz Area (Poland)

      Szwarczewski, Piotr (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      The area of Chroberz (southern Poland) poses questions of an interdisciplinary character comprising geomorphologic, sedimentation, and archaeological-historical problems. The main aim of this study was to identify the geomorphologic response to changes in the natural environment that took place in the area of the loess plateau (and its close vicinity) as a result of its settlement by man and of climate change. Periods of particularly intense human activity (land-use changes, deforestation, and agriculture) were recorded as changes in the type of sedimentation, i.e. organic sedimentation substituted for mineral one; it was extremely intensive during the Neolithic Age, Iron Age, and Early Middle Ages. The conducted fieldwork research, analysis of available archaeological materials, and radiocarbon dating results show that there is a direct connection between human economic activity in primeval and historic times and between soil erosion and accumulation of colluvial/alluvial fans in the surroundings of the locality of Chroberz. 14C dates documenting the age of colluvial sediment formation show that individual areas of the upland were settled by humans asynchronously. On the basis of a low facial variability, or, occasionally, even homogeneity, of individual colluvia (from soil erosion) and their considerable thickness, it can be concluded that the land was in constant use or that the intervals with no human activity were relatively short. The progressing human impact process is visible both in the form progradation recorded as the changes in 14C ages (e.g. from 1440 +/- 100 to 780 +/- 80 BP) and in textural (e.g. chemical) features of sediments of which the examined fans are composed.
    • 14C Dating of Cremated Bones: The Issue of Sample Contamination

      Van Strydonck, Mark; Boudin, Mathieu; Mulder, Guy De (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Recent comparative studies have proven the validity of radiocarbon dates of cremated bones. The issue of sample contamination has, however, been overlooked in most studies. Analyses of cremated bone samples has shown that in some cases, cremated bones are contaminated. This contamination is more distinct near the surface of the bones and depends on the compactness of the cremated bone as well as on the site conditions. 13C is not a good estimator to discriminate between contaminated and uncontaminated bones. An acetic acid pretreatment is the most appropriate method to clean samples, but it is better to remove the surface and to avoid cremated bones that are not entirely white (cremation temp. 725 degrees C).
    • 14C Dating of Carbonate Mortars from Polish and Israeli Sites

      Nawrocka, Danuta; Czernik, Justyna; Goslar, Tomasz (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      The presented research involves the analysis and radiocarbon dating of 2 different groups of carbonate mortars, from Kraków, Poland and Hippos, Israel. Differences in composition of the mortars are reflected in different rates of their acid leaching. The Israeli mortars contain carbonate-basaltic aggregates, which may cause overestimation of 14C age. Preliminary processing of these samples (choice of selected grain-size fraction and collection of CO2 released during the first phase of the acid-leaching reaction), enabled us to obtain good agreement between the 14C dates and the age derived from historical contexts. A similar method of preliminary processing was applied to the carbonate mortars of the Medieval building in Kraków. The Polish samples represent carbonate mortars with some admixture of quartz aggregates, suggesting that they would be an ideal material for 14C dating. However, these samples contained white lumps of carbonates, the structure of which differed from that of the binder. These admixtures, possibly related to the hydrological conditions at the site and to the character of the ingredients, appeared modern, and if not removed prior to acid leaching, they could cause underestimation of the age of samples. The 14C dates of the mortars from the walls of the Small Scales building in Krakòw are the first obtained for this object, and their sequence does not contradict archaeological indications on several phases of the building construction.
    • 14C Chronology of Avellino Pumices Eruption and Timing of Human Reoccupation of the Devastated Region

      Passariello, Isabella; Livadie, Claude Albore; Talamo, Pierfrancesco; Lubritto, Carmine; D'Onofrio, Antonio; Terrasi, Filippo (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      The Avellino Pumices eruption was one of the most catastrophic volcanic events of Somma-Vesuvius, which hit prehistoric communities during the Early Bronze Age. In the last 30 yr, several authors reported assessments about its chronology, including radiocarbon datings, but with poor internal agreement and frequently with large experimental errors. A new and more accurate 14C dating of this eruption (1935-1880 BC, 1 sigma) was obtained at the CIRCE laboratory in Caserta (Italy) by 3 AMS measurements on a bone sample of a goat buried by the eruption, collected in an Early Bronze Age village at Croce del Papa (Nola, Naples). These results were verified by other measurements on several samples chronologically related to the eruption. Our data show that human resettlement after the eruption occurred rather quickly but lasted only for a short time in areas affected by the volcanic products, like Masseria Rossa and San Paolo Belsito (Nola, Naples), according to 14C dating of archaeological samples collected below and above the eruption deposits. The state-of-the-art chronology of this eruption, emerging from the results obtained in this work as well as from data in the literature, is discussed.
    • Radiocarbon and Dendrochronological Dates of the Corded Ware Culture

      Włodarczak, Piotr (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      This paper presents and discusses radiocarbon dates of the Corded Ware culture (CWC) from different regions of Europe (mainly from southern and central Germany and southern and central Poland). The main questions addressed are the controversial significance of particular results, the incompatibility of the obtained date sequences, and the "imprecision of the method." There is clearly the problem of hundreds of dates from different laboratories and performed in different years. A slight difference in the results leads to an "elongated"chronology and acceptance of a model with synchronicity of many cultural groups. The proposed verification of the 14C chronology is connected with both the dendrochronological method and the comparison of dating sequences obtained from particular regions. At present, the most reliable dating scheme for the Corded Ware culture is the one based on the dendrochronological dates of settlements on Swiss lakes; therefore, the scheme must constitute a reference point for 14C analyses conducted for other regions. Due to the typological diversity of materials, however, not every situation allows for this approach. Thus, many 14C grave dates, particularly the results referring to the late CWC phase (after ~2400 BC), remain controversial.
    • Wiggle-Matching Using Known-Age Pine from Jermyn Street, London

      Tyers, Cathy; Sidell, Jane; van der Plicht, Johannes; Marshall, Peter; Cook, Gordon; Bronk Ramsey, Christopher; Bayliss, Alex (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      A slice of pine from the period covered by single-year calibration data (Stuiver 1993) was selected to serve as part of the quality assurance procedures of the English Heritage radiocarbon dating program, following successful wiggle-matching of 14C measurements from structural 15th century English oak timbers (Hamilton et al. 2007). The timber selected was a roofing element from a house on Jermyn Street, central London, demonstrated by dendrochronology to have been felled in AD 1670. Eighteen single-ring samples were dated by the 14C laboratories at Groningen, Oxford, and SUERC: each laboratory was sent a random selection of 6 samples. This approach was intended to mimic the mix of samples and relative ages incorporated into Bayesian chronological models during routine project research. This paper presents the results of this study.
    • Contradictions in the Relative Chronology: Archaeological and Radiocarbon Dating

      Stöckli, Werner E. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      When comparing dendrodates and radiocarbon dates, I advocate using the mean value for archaeologically defined data series, as in the usual case, the correct dating is always more precise than the calibrated areas. However, in the extreme gradient of the calibration curve, we must consider the errors. Based on the Corded Ware from the Tauber basin, I put forward a first example in which a contradiction between the archaeological and 14C dating occurs. If one cleanly separates the older measurements from Kln and the younger ones from Heidelberg, the contradiction towards the archaeological dating is canceled out when only the younger Heidelberg dates are taken into account. Regarding the Early Bronze Age, I shall first deal with the cemetery at Singen and will show, using the typology and the horizontal distribution of the graves, how outliers can be identified, thus narrowing the range for dating of the cemetery. The comparison of 2 archaeologically contemporaneous cemeteries in the Neckar basin (Rottenburg and Gufelden) again results in contradictions between the archaeological and 14C dating. In this case, the contradictions cannot be solved without any new dating measurements. It is recommended that these should be carried out by at least 2 laboratories. Finally, some recommendations are given to archaeologists. In my opinion, 14C dates that are archaeologically unsuitable should be used to check the findings and the archaeological-typological classification. The contradictions should be reported immediately to the 14C laboratory, so that any possible experimental errors can be identified..
    • Conference Participants

      Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01
    • Dating Charred Soil Organic Matter: Comparison of Radiocarbon Ages from Macrocharcoals and Chemically Separated Charcoal Carbon

      Eckmeier, Eileen; van der Borg, Klaas; Tegtmeier, Ursula; Schmidt, Michael W. I.; Gerlach, Renate (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Radiocarbon dating of charcoal in soils is commonly used to reconstruct past environmental processes. Also microcharcoal that is chemically isolated from soil organic matter by high-energy UV photo-oxidation can be dated with 14C accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). We compared the 14C AMS ages of 13 pairs of hand-picked macrocharcoals and microcharcoal samples separated via the UV oxidation method; both charcoal fractions were taken from the same soil samples (prehistoric pit fillings). We found that in most cases, the microcharcoal fraction yielded older ages than the single macrocharcoal pieces, and that the differences between the ages are not systematic. A reason for these age differences might be that the microcharcoal fraction consists of more stable components than macrocharcoals and thus yields older ages. Dating of microcharcoal would give a mean age of charred organic matter in soil material and the ages of the more stable compounds. Thus, 14C data obtained from the microcharcoal fraction in soils is not comparable to macrocharcoal ages and should not be used to complement existing macrocharcoal data sets.
    • Dating Bones near the Limit of the Radiocarbon Dating Method: Study Case Mammoth from Niederweningen, ZH Switzerland

      Hajdas, Irka; Michczyński, Adam; Bonani, Georges; Wacker, Lukas; Furrer, Heinz (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Preparation of bone material for radiocarbon dating is still a subject of investigation. In the past, the most problematic ages appeared to be the very old bones, i.e. those with ages close to the limit of the dating method. Development of preparative methods requires sufficient amounts of bone material as well as the possibility of verification of the ages. In the peat section at Niederweningen, ZH Switzerland, numerous bones of mammoth and other animals were found in the late 19th century. The first accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon ages of those bones from 1890/1891 excavations placed the age between 33,000 and 35,000 BP. The excavations in 2003/2004 provided additional material for 14C dating. An age of 45,870 +/- 1080 BP was obtained on base (NaOH step) cleaned gelatin from mammoth bone, which was very close to the age of 45,430 +/- 1020 BP obtained for the peat layer that buried the mammoths. The 14C age of gelatin cleaned using the ultrafiltration method obtained in this study, 45,720 +/- 710 BP, is in a very good agreement with the previously obtained results. Moreover, the study shows that 3 pretreatment methods (base+Longin, Longin+ultrafiltration, and base+Longin+ultrafiltration) give ages consistent with each other and with the age of the peat section.
    • Ultrafiltration: Boon or Bane?

      Hüls, C. M.; Grootes, P. M.; Nadeau, M.-J. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Ultrafiltration of bone collagen, dissolved as gelatin (M ~100,000 D), has received considerable attention as a means to remove small contaminants and thus produce more reliable dates (Brown et al. 1988; Bronk Ramsey et al. 2004; Higham et al. 2006; Mellars 2006). However, comparative dating studies have raised the question whether this cleaning step itself may introduce contamination with carbon from the filters used (Bronk Ramsey et al. 2004; Brock et al. 2007; Hüls et al. 2007). Here, we present results of further ultrafiltration experiments with modern and fossil collagen samples using Vivaspin 20 and Vivaspin 15R ultrafilters. Evidently, the Vivaspin 20 (VS 20) ultrafilter with a polyethersulfone (PES) membrane retains more material in the 30 kD fraction than the Vivaspin 15R (VS 15R) filter with a regenerated cellulose membrane (Hydrosat), which may be related to increased retention of proteins due to suboptimal electrostatic conditions during ultrafiltration with the PES membrane. In addition, this filter type shows clear evidence for contamination with fossil carbon, presumably from membrane fibers, in the 30 kD fraction. Radiocarbon measurements on ultrafiltrated fossil collagen seem to indicate small contributions of modern carbon via glycerin left on and within the filter membranes of both types. Although SEM pictures show film remnants on the fibrous filter structure of cleaned filter membranes, EDX analysis on the VS 20 membrane to not support the assumption this may be glycerin. Our observations indicate the risks and benefits of the use of ultrafiltration in cleaning collagen samples for 14C dating need to be further quantified, especially for the cleaning of fossil bone collagen of good quality samples.
    • Can We Get a Good Radiocarbon Age from "Bad Bone"? Determining the Reliability of Radiocarbon Age from Bioapatite

      Cherkinsky, Alexander (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      The study of the radiocarbon age of bone bioapatite was initiated by necessity to date archaeological artifacts, which often contain little or no collagen as a result of poor preservation. Contamination of the organic fraction in the process of the burial or during museum preservation treatment generally prohibits the use of the collagen fraction for dating. Our investigation has shown that the pretreatment of bone with diluted acetic acid following a proscribed technique allows the separation of the bioapatite fraction from diagenetic carbonates. We have successfully used this technique to prepare and date samples of bone and of tooth enamel and dentin, with varying degrees of preservation condition, and from time intervals ranging from a few hundred 14C yr to greater than 40,000 14C yr.
    • The Spread of the Neolithic in the South East European Plain: Radiocarbon Chronology, Subsistence, and Environment

      Dolukhanov, Pavel M.; Shukurov, Anvar; Davison, Kate; Sarson, Graeme; Gerasimenko, Natalia P.; Pashkevich, Galina A.; Vybornov, Aleksandr A.; Kovalyukh, Vikolai N.; Skripkin, V. V.; Zaitseva, Ganna I.; et al. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2009-01-01)
      Newly available radiocarbon dates show the early signs of pottery-making in the North Caspian area, the Middle-Lower Volga, and the Lower Don at 8-7 kyr cal BC. Stable settlements, as indicated by "coeval subsamples," are recognized in the Middle-Lower Volga (Yelshanian) at 6.8 kyr cal BC and the Caspian Lowland at about 6 kyr cal BC. The ages of the Strumel-Gostyatin, Surskian, and Bug-Dniesterian sites are in the range of 6.6-4.5 kyr BC, overlapping with early farming entities (Starčevo-Krs-Criş and Linear Pottery), whose influence is perceptible in archaeological materials. Likewise, the 14C-dated pollen data show that the spread of early pottery-making coincided with increased precipitation throughout the forest-steppe area.