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

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

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

ISSN: 0033-8222


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Recent Submissions

  • Towards a Deeper Understanding of How Carbonate Isotopes (14C, 13C, 18O) Reflect Environmental Changes: A Study with Recent 210Pb-Dated Sediments of the Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

    Horvatinčić, Nada; Barešić, Jadranka; Babinka, Slavica; Obelić, Bogomil; Krajcar Bronić, Ines; Vreča, Polona; Sucrow, Axel (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2008-01-01)
    Five short cores (top 40-45 cm of sediment) from 4 lakes of the Plitvice Lakes system (Croatia) were measured for 210Pb, 137Cs, a14C, 13C, and 18O in order to study the influence of environmental changes on the sediment system in small and large lakes. Sediment chronology based on the constant flux (CF) 210Pb model was the most reliable. Lake sediments consisted mainly of autochthonous carbonates with higher sedimentation rates in small lakes. Sediments from 2 large lakes, Proće and Kozjak, showed constant stable isotope profiles for the carbonate fraction and full agreement between the 137Cs and 210Pb chronologies. Sediments from 2 small lakes, Gradinsko and Kaluderovac, showed synchronous increases in 14C and 13C and disturbed 137Cs records. All lakes showed an increase in a14C in the carbonate sediments above the first occurrence of 137Cs, which was interpreted as a damped (~10 pMC increase in a14C) and decades-delayed consequence of the bomb-induced increase in a14C in atmospheric CO2. For the small lakes, increased 13C in the last 2 decades and part of the a14C increase is probably due to an increase in primary productivity, which enhanced biologically induced calcite precipitation with concomitant changes in the carbon isotopic composition of carbonate sediments. 13C values of a near-shore sediment core close to the confluence of one of the tributaries of Lake Kozjak showed that the carbonates in this core are a mixture of autochthonous and eroded allochthonous mineral carbonate. This core had a higher fraction of organic material. The sedimentation rate at this core site was high, but rates could not be quantified by 210Pb, 137Cs, or 14C.
  • Structural Characterization of Charcoal Exposed to High and Low pH: Implications for 14C Sample Preparation and Charcoal Preservation

    Rebollo, N. R.; Cohen-Ofri, I.; Popovitz-Biro, R.; Bar-Yosef, O.; Meignen, L.; Goldberg, P.; Weiner, S.; Boaretto, E. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2008-01-01)
    Chemical and structural similarities between poorly preserved charcoal and its contaminants, as well as low radiocarbon concentrations in old samples, complicate 14C age determinations. Here, we characterize 4 fossil charcoal samples from the late Middle Paleolithic and early Upper Paleolithic strata of Kebara Cave, Israel, with respect to the structural and chemical changes that occur when they are subjected to the acid-base-acid (ABA) treatment. Differential thermal analysis and TEM show that acid treatment disrupts the structure, whereas alkali treatment results in the reformation of molecular aggregates. The major changes are ascribed to the formation of salt bridges at high pH and the disruption of the graphite-like crystallites at low pH. Weight losses during the treatments are consistently greater for older samples, implying that they are less well preserved. Based on the changes observed in vitro due to pH fluctuations, various methods for removing contamination, as well as a mechanism for preferential preservation of charcoal in nature, are proposed.
  • Radiocarbon Chronology of Central Alaska: Technological Continuity and Economic Change

    Potter, Ben A. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2008-01-01)
    This research presents the first comprehensive radiocarbon chronology for central Alaska, encompassing the late Pleistocene and Holocene archaeological record. Dated component distributions, comprised of 274 14C dates from 160 components, indicate changing land-use strategies and subsistence economies, reflecting primarily lowland exploitation of bison, wapiti, and birds prior to 6000 cal BP, followed by increasing caribou and fish exploitation and use of upland areas. Microblade technology is conserved from the earliest components to ~1000 cal BP, and this continuity is not reflected in current cultural history sequences. Using component abundance as a proxy for population, initial colonization is associated with climate amelioration after ~14,000 cal BP, and population declines are associated with the Younger Dryas (13,000-12,000 cal BP) and initial establishment of widespread spruce forests (10,000-9000 cal BP).
  • On the Prospects of AMS 14C with Real-Time Sample Preparation and Separation

    Kjeldsen, Henrik; Churchman, Jessica; Leach, Phillip; Bronk Ramsey, Christopher (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2008-01-01)
    The performance of the CO2-accepting SO-110 ion source at Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit has been investigated in detail. The purpose was to clarify the possibilities of accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon measurements with real-time separation, e.g. GC AMS or HPLC AMS. The construction of a gas test injector based on the continuous-flow technique made it possible to characterize the response of the ion source to continuous and pulsed input of CO2 gas. The source exhibited remarkably good linearity over a wide range of CO2-pulse sizes and fast rise time, but the peak shape varied and memory effects were significant. Appropriate tuning of the gas source proved to be critical.
  • Marine Reservoir Corrections: St. Helena, South Atlantic Ocean

    Lewis, Colin A.; Reimer, Paula J.; Reimer, Ron W. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2008-01-01)
    We present the first marine reservoir age and R determination for the island of St. Helena using marine mollusk radiocarbon dates obtained from an historical context of known age. This represents the first marine reservoir age and R determination in the southern Atlantic Ocean within thousands of kilometers of the island. The depletion of 14C in the shells indicates a rather larger reservoir age for that portion of the surface Atlantic than models indicate. The implication is that upwelling old water along the Namibian coast is transported for a considerable distance, although it is likely to be variable on a decadal timescale. An artilleryman's button, together with other artifacts found in a midden, demonstrate association of the mollusk shells with a narrow historic period of AD 1815-1835.
  • Marine Reservoir Ages in Northern Senegal and Mauritania Coastal Waters

    Ndeye, Maurice (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2008-01-01)
    In order to estimate the modern reservoir age of the seawater (R) and the corresponding local offset from the global marine radiocarbon calibration curve (Delta-R) for coastal sites of Senegal and Mauritania, we analyzed pre-bomb mollusk shells collected between AD 1837 and 1945. In total, 27 shell samples were measured, including 19 from Senegal and 8 from Mauritania. The results for Senegal for the weighted mean of R is 511 +/- 50 BP and Delta-R is 176 +/- 15 BP; for Mauritania, R is 421 +/- 15 BP and Delta-R is 71 +/- 13 BP. While these values indicate a significant difference from the global mean value of Delta-R for Senegal, the R value for coastal Mauritania is close to the average ocean value R of ~400 yr (Stuiver and Braziunas 1993).
  • Editorial Board

    Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2008-01-01
  • ENEA Radiocarbon Measurements III

    Magnani, Giuseppe; Bartolomei, Paolo; La Torretta, Teresa; Marino, Ernesto Claudio (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2008-01-01)
    This paper includes determinations of archaeological samples coming from different sites and performed at the ENEA Radiocarbon Laboratory.
  • Contents

    Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2008-01-01
  • AMS Radiocarbon Dating of Giant Rock Scallop (Hinnites Multirugosus) Artifacts from San Miguel Island, California, USA

    Braje, Todd J.; Rick, Torben C.; Erlandson, Jon M. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2008-01-01)
    For at least 100,000 yr, marine shell beads have been important ornamental and symbolic artifacts intimately associated with the behavior of anatomically modern humans. In California, giant rock scallop (Hinnites multirugosus) beads were once thought to have been used only for the last 1000 yr, where they were considered to be markers of high social status among the Chumash Indians of the Santa Barbara Channel region. Direct accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dating of 1 giant rock scallop ornament and 2 beads from San Miguel Island extends the use of this shell for personal adornment to at least 8000 cal BP. Our study emphasizes the importance of direct AMS 14C dating of artifacts to enhance cultural chronologies and clarify the antiquity of various technologies and associated behaviors. Our results also caution archaeologists when equating artifact rarity with sociopolitical complexity.
  • AMS Dating on the Shell Bar Section from Qaidam Basin, NE Tibetan Plateau, China

    Zhang, H. C.; Fan, H. F.; Chang, F. Q.; Zhang, W. X.; Lei, G. L.; Yang, M. S.; Lei, Y. B.; Yang, L. Q. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2008-01-01)
    Radiocarbon dating by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) of the shell bar section of Qaidam Basin, NE Tibetan Plateau, shows that this section was formed between ~39.7 and ~17.5 14C kyr BP and represented the highest paleolake development period since the Late Pleistocene. It was difficult to obtain reliable dates due to the low organic carbon content, which was formed mainly by authochtonous algae-bacteria (Zhang et al. 2007a). In order to improve the dating, 14C ages of both the alkali residual and acid-soluble components of the organic carbon were measured to check the consistency of the dating results. Total organic carbon (TOC) content and stable carbon isotopes (delta-13Corg) might also be used as critical references for checking the reliability of dates. For example, in our study of the shell bar section from Qaidam Basin, we found that when the TOC content was higher than 0.15% and/or delta-13Corg was lower than -23‰, the AMS dates were reliable. AMS dating of fossil shells demonstrated that they could provide valuable age information. The ages given by fossil shells are comparable to those of bulk carbonate from a similar sampling site, and are about 15~18 kyr older than the ages given by organic matter. Due to the U/Th dating requirements and open nature of the system, we concluded that U/Th dating results are unreliable and that this technique is unsuitable for dating halite deposits from Qaidam Basin.
  • A New Chronology for Pololu Valley, Hawai'i Island: Occupational History and Agricultural Development

    Julie S. Field; Graves, Michael W. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2008-01-01)
    A reanalysis of the chronology of Pololu Valley, located in the district of Kohala on Hawai'i Island, is presented using standard radiocarbon and accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) dating. Using curated materials from the 1970s, Pololu is reassessed and found to have the earliest coastal occupations in this part of Hawai'i, beginning about AD 1300. Occupations at the dunes and in the valley interior are investigated, as are dryland and wetland field agricultural systems. These data provide a refined model for expansion and intensification of agricultural production in the 15th-17th centuries, and link this remote valley to demographic and sociopolitical trends that were occurring in the rest of Hawai'i.
  • 14C Dates and the Iron Age Chronology of Israel: A Response

    Mazar, Amihai; Bronk Ramsey, Christopher (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2008-01-01)
    Boaretto et al. (2005) published 68 radiocarbon dates relating to 30 samples from 10 Iron Age sites in Israel as part of their Early Iron Age Dating Project. Though the main goal of their paper was an interlaboratory comparison, they also presented results of Bayesian models, calculating the transition from Iron Age I to Iron Age II in Israel to be about 900 BCE instead of the conventional date of about 1000 BCE. Since this date has great importance for all of Eastern Mediterranean archaeology, in this paper we examine the results in light of the dates published in the above-mentioned article. Our paper was revised in light of new data and interpretations published by Sharon et al. (2007). Following a survey of the contexts and specific results at each site, we present several Bayesian models. Model C2 suggests the date range of 961-942 BCE (68% probability) for the transition from Iron Age I to Iron Age II, while Model C3 indicates a somewhat later date of 948-919 BCE (compare the date 992-961 BCE calculated at Tel Rehov for the same transition). In our Model D, we calculated this transition date at Megiddo as taking place between 967-943 BCE. Finally, we calculated the range of dates of major destruction levels marking the end of the Iron Age I, with the following results: Megiddo VIA: 1010-943 BCE; Yoqne'am XVII: 1045-997 BCE; Tell Qasile X: 1039-979 BCE; Tel Hadar: 1043-979 BCE (all in the 68.2% probability range). Figure 4 indicates that the transition between Iron I and II probably occurred between these above-mentioned destruction events and the dates achieved in our Models C2 or C3, namely during the first half of the 10th century BCE. This study emphasizes the sensitivity of Bayesian models to outliers, and for reducing or adding dates from the models. This sensitivity should be taken into account when using Bayesian models for interpreting radiometric dates in relation to subtle chronological questions in historical periods.
  • Zinc Reduction as an Alternative Method for AMS Radiocarbon Dating: Process Optimization at CIRCE

    Marzaioli, F.; Borriello, G.; Passariello, I.; Lubritto, C.; De Cesare, N.; D'Onofrio, A.; Terrasi, F. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2008-01-01)
    The pretreatment of samples for radiocarbon measurements, transforming a variety of materials into graphite solid targets, represents a critical point in the accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) procedure. We describe the new, state-of-the-art CIRCE AMS preparation laboratory, particularly the setup and optimization of an alternative method, the zinc reduction method, for graphite target production, compared to the more common hydrogen reduction method. Measured 14C values on standard and blank samples reduced via zinc reaction revealed mean background levels, accuracy, and sensitivity comparable to those obtained by our conventional hydrogen reaction lines. Zinc line reduction at the CIRCE laboratory represents an effective and powerful alternative to the conventional hydrogen reduction, ensuring higher sample throughput with lower costs at a comparable performance level.
  • Very Long-Lived Mollusks Confirm 17th Century AD Tephra-Based Radiocarbon Reservoir Ages for North Icelandic Shelf Waters

    Wanamaker, Alan D., Jr.; Heinemeier, Jan; Scourse, James D.; Richardson, Christopher A.; Butler, Paul G.; Eiríksson, Jon; Knudsen, Karen Luise (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2008-01-01)
    Marine sediment records from the north Icelandic shelf, which rely on tephrochronological age models, reveal an average Delta-R (regional deviation from the modeled global surface ocean reservoir age) of approximately 150 yr for the last millennium. These tephra-based age models have not hitherto been independently verified. Here, we provide data that corroborate Delta-R values derived from these sediment archives. We sampled the youngest portion (ontogenetic age) of a bivalve shell, Arctica islandica (L.), for radiocarbon analysis, which was collected alive in 2006 from the north Icelandic shelf in ~80 m water depth. Annual band counting from the sectioned shell revealed that this clam lived for more than 405 yr, making it the longest-lived mollusk and possibly the oldest non-colonial animal yet documented. The 14C age derived from the umbo region of the shell is 951 +/- 27 yr BP. Assuming that the bivalve settled onto the seabed at AD 1600, the corresponding local value of Delta-R is found to be 237 +/- 35 yr by comparison of the 14C age with the Marine04 calibration curve (Hughen et al. 2004) at this time. Furthermore, we cross-matched a 287-yr-old, dead-collected, A. islandica shell from AD 1601 to 1656 from the same site with the live-caught individual. 14C analysis from the ventral margin of this shell revealed a Delta-R of 186 +/- 50 yr at AD 1650. These values compare favorably with each other and with the tephra-based Delta-R values during this period, illustrating that 14C from A. islandica can effectively record 14C reservoir changes in the shelf seas.
  • Sample Dilution for AMS 14C Analysis of Small Samples (30-150 μg C)

    de Rooij, M.; van der Plicht, J.; Meijer, H. J. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2008-01-01)
    We investigated sample dilution as a technique for accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon analysis of very small samples (down to 30 mu-g). By diluting such samples up to a total weight of 200 mu-g, we can still perform reliable AMS measurements and improve the success rate significantly for targets that are difficult to measure. A disadvantage of this dilution technique is a loss of measurement precision. In addition, calculations of the 14C/12C isotope ratios and the uncertainties therein are not straightforward because of peculiarities in isotope fractionation processes in the AMS system. Therefore, to make sample dilution a routine method in our laboratory, we did extensive theoretical and experimental research to find the optimum conditions for all relevant parameters. Here, we report on the first detailed study dealing with all aspects of sample dilution. Our results can be applied in general. As an illustrative test case, we analyze 14C data for CO2 extracted from an ice core, from which samples of 35 mu-g C or less are available.
  • Radiocarbon Laboratories

    Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2008-01-01
  • Radiocarbon Reservoir Ages and Hardwater Effect for the Northeastern Coastal Waters of Argentina

    Gómez, Eduardo A.; Borel, C. Marcela; Aguirre, Marina L.; Martínez, Daniel E. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2008-01-01)
    Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dates were obtained for 18 mollusk shells collected alive along the Buenos Aires province coast, Argentina, over the period AD 1914-1935. Reservoir ages were estimated for all samples on the basis of the tree-ring calibration curve for the Southern Hemisphere (SHCal04, McCormac et al. 2004) and the marine ΔR values calculated as the difference between the conventional 14C age and the age deduced from the marine, mixed-layer model calculation (Marine04, Hughen et al. 2004). For most coastal locations, a great ΔR scatter was observed, ranging from 191 to 2482 yr, which is explained by the input of varying content of dissolved carbonate by rivers and groundwater (hardwater effect) and indicates a serious limitation for shell-based 14C chronologies. Within the interior of Baha Blanca estuary, ΔR values ranged from 40 to 50 +/- 46 as a consequence of the local geological particularities of the environment. This suggests that, with some restrictions, the marine calibration curve with standard parameters (ΔR = 0) could be used at this location.
  • New Marine ΔR Values for the South Pacific Subtropical Gyre Region

    Petchey, Fiona; Anderson, Atholl; Zondervan, Albert; Ulm, Sean; Hogg, Alan (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2008-01-01)
    This paper presents 31 new R results of known-age, pre-AD 1950 shells from the South Pacific subtropical gyre region, spanning from the Tuamotu Archipelago in the east to New Caledonia in the west. This doubles the number of available R values for the Oceania region. These values indicate that the regional offset (R) from the modeled radiocarbon marine age has remained relatively constant over the last 100 yr prior to 1950. Variation from the norm can be attributed to various influences including localized upwelling around islands, the presence of a hardwater effect, direct ingestion of old carbon by the live shellfish, or enhanced exchange with atmospheric CO2 as a consequence of photosynthetic activity or increased aeration.

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