ABOUT THIS COLLECTION

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

  • The Freshwater Reservoir and Radiocarbon Dates on Cooking Residues: Old Apparent Ages or a Single Outlier? Comments on Fischer and Heinemeier (2003)

    Hart, John P.; Lovis, William A. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2007-01-01)
    Fischer and Heinemeier (2003) present a hypothesis that the freshwater reservoir effect produces old apparent ages for radiocarbon dates run on charred cooking residues in regions where fossil carbon is present in groundwater. The hypothesis is based in part on their analysis of dates on charred cooking residues from 3 inland archaeological sites in Denmark in relation to contextual dates from those sites on other materials. A critical assessment of the dates from these sites suggests that rather than a pattern of old apparent dates, there is a single outlying datenot sufficient evidence on which to build a case for the freshwater reservoir effect.
  • Seoul National University Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (SNU-AMS) Radiocarbon Date List IV

    Youn, M.; Song, Y. M.; Kang, J.; Kim, J. C.; Cheoun, M. K. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2007-01-01)
    The accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) facility at Seoul National University (SNU-AMS) was accepted in December 1998 and results reported first at the Vienna AMS conference in October 1999 and at the 17th Radiocarbon Conference in Israel, June 2000. At the Vienna conference, we reported our accelerator system and sample preparation systems (Kim et al. 2000). Recent developments of the AMS facility have been regularly reported at AMS conferences (Kim et al. 2001, 2004, 2007). Meanwhile, about 1000 unknown archaeological, geological, and environmental samples have been measured every year. In this report, the archaeological and geological data carried out in 2002 are presented in terms of years BP (before present, AD 1950), following the SNU-AMS date lists I and II published in Radiocarbon (Kim et al. 2006a,b).
  • Seoul National University Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (SNU-AMS) Radiocarbon Date List III

    Youn, M.; Song, Y. M.; Kang, J.; Kim, J. C.; Cheoun, M. K. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2007-01-01)
    The accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) facility at Seoul National University (SNU-AMS) was accepted in December 1998 and results reported first at the Vienna AMS conference in October 1999 and at the 17th Radiocarbon Conference in Israel, June 2000. At the Vienna conference, we reported our accelerator system and sample preparation systems (Kim et al. 2000). Recent developments of the AMS facility have been regularly reported at AMS conferences (Kim et al. 2001, 2004, 2007). Meanwhile, about 1000 unknown archaeological, geological, and environmental samples have been measured every year. In this report, the archaeological and geological data carried out in 2001 are presented in terms of years BP (before present, AD 1950), following the SNU-AMS date lists I and II published in Radiocarbon (Kim et al. 2006a,b).
  • Recurrence and Extent of Great Earthquakes in Southern Alaska During the Late Holocene from an Analysis of the Radiocarbon Record of Land-Level Change and Village Abandonment

    Hutchinson, Ian; Crowell, Aron L. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2007-01-01)
    The incidence of plate-boundary earthquakes across 3 prospective tectonic segments at the Alaska subduction zone (ASZ) in the late Holocene is reconstructed from geological evidence of abrupt land-level change and archaeological evidence of discontinuities in occupation of native villages. Bracketing radiocarbon ages on uplifted and down-dropped coastal deposits indicate that great earthquakes likely ruptured the plate interface in the eastern segment (Prince William Sound [PWS]) about 800, 1400, 2200-2300, 2600-2700, 3100-3200, and 3600-3700 cal BP. Evidence for an event about 1900 yr ago, and the possibility that the 26002700 cal BP event was a closely spaced series of 3 earthquakes, is restricted to parts of Cook Inlet. Geological evidence from the central (Kenai [KEN]) segment is fragmentary, but indicates that this segment likely ruptured about 1400 yr ago and in the triple event about 2600-2700 yr ago. The geological record from the Kodiak-Katmai (KOKA) segment at the western end of the ASZ has limited time-depth, with localized evidence for ruptures about 500, 1000, and 1300 yr ago. 14C ages and stratigraphic descriptions from 82 prehistoric villages and camps on the coast of the Gulf of Alaska reveal fluctuations in site activity that correlate with paleoseismic episodes. Hiatuses in site occupation occurred about 800, 1400, and 2200 yr ago in the PWS and KEN segments. The fragmentary older record from the KEN segment also reveals a hiatus about 2700 yr ago. The 2200-2300 and 2600-2700 cal BP events are also recorded in the KOKA segment, and the great earthquake at about 3200 cal BP may also be recorded there. This suggests that, although the PWS and KEN segments behave as a coherent unit of the Alaska megathrust, the KOKA segment is characterized by semi-independent behavior. At least 2, and perhaps as many as 4, of the last 7 prehistoric great earthquakes at this plate boundary did not propagate this far west.
  • Radiocarbon Laboratories

    Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2007-01-01
  • Radiocarbon Dating of Several Ancient Jewish Oil Lamps from Rome

    Rutgers, Leonard V.; van der Borg, Klaas; de Jong, Arie F. M. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2007-01-01)
    In this paper, we discuss how the radiocarbon dating of soot on oil lamps can help determine the chronology of the Jewish catacombs of Rome. We also explore the ramifications of our work for the typological study of Roman period terracotta lamps.
  • Pushing the Limits of AMS Radiocarbon Dating with Improved Bayesian Data Analysis

    Palonen, V.; Tikkanen, P. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2007-01-01)
    We present an improved version of the continuous autoregressive (CAR) model, a Bayesian data analysis model for accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). Measurement error is taken to be Poisson-distributed, improving the analysis for samples with only a few counts. This, in turn, enables pushing the limit of radiocarbon measurements to lower concentrations. On the computational side, machine drift is described with a vector of parameters, and hence the user can examine the probable shape of the trend. The model is compared to the conventional mean-based (MB) method, with simulated measurements representing a typical run of a modern AMS machine and a run with very old samples. In both comparisons, CAR has better precision, gives much more stable uncertainties, and is slightly more accurate. Finally, some results are given from Helsinki AMS measurements of background sample materials, with natural diamonds among them.
  • Radiocarbon Analysis Confirms the Annual Nature of Sagebrush Growth Rings

    Biondi, Franco; Strachan, Scotty J.; Mensing, Scott; Piovesan, Gianluca (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2007-01-01)
    In the Great Basin of North America, big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.) growth rings can be used to reconstruct environmental changes with annual resolution in areas where there is otherwise little such information available. We tested the annual nature of big sagebrush wood layers using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dating. Four cross-sections from 3 sagebrush plants were collected near Ely, Nevada, USA, and analyzed using dendrochronological methods. Ten 14C measurements were then used to trace the location of the 196-364 bomb spike. Although the number of rings on each section did not exceed 60, crossdating was possible within a section and between sections. Years assigned to individual wood layers by means of crossdating aligned with their expected 14C values, matching the location of the 14C peak. This result confirmed the annual nature of growth rings formed by big sagebrush, and will facilitate the development of spatially explicit, well-replicated proxy records of environmental change, such as wildfire regimes, in Great Basin valleys.
  • New Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) Ages Suggest a Revision of the Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) Middle Holocene Dates Obtained for a Toxodon platensis (Toxodontidae, Mammalia) from Southeast Brazil

    Neves, Walter; Hubbe, Alex; Karmann, Ivo (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2007-01-01)
    In a paper published in Applied Radiation and Isotopes, Baffa et al. (2000) reported a Middle Holocene date (~6.5 kyr BP) for a specimen of Toxodon platensis from Ribeira do Iguape, southeast Brazil, using the emergent technique electron spin resonance (ESR). Through an accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) procedure applied on tooth collagen, we provide a new set of dates to test the accuracy of the ages generated by ESR. We obtained 2 dates more than 4500 BP older than the previous one, suggesting a minimum Late Pleistocene age for the specimen.
  • New Evidence from the East Polynesian Gateway: Substantive and Methodological Results from Aitutaki, Southern Cook Islands

    Allen, Melinda S.; Wallace, Rod (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2007-01-01)
    East Polynesia was the geographic terminus of prehistoric human expansion across the globe and the southern Cook Islands, the first archipelago west of Samoa, a gateway to this region. Fourteen new radiocarbon dates from one of the oldest human settlements in this archipelago, the Ureia site (AIT-10) on Aitutaki Island, now indicate occupation from cal AD 1225-1430 (1 sigma), nearly 300 yr later than previously suggested. Although now among the most securely dated central East Polynesian sites, the new age estimate for Ureia places it outside the settlement period of either the long or short chronology models. The new dates have, however, led to a comfortable fit with the Ureia biological evidence, which suggests not a virgin landscape, but a highly a modified fauna and flora. The results also provide the first systematic demonstration of inbuilt age in tropical Pacific trees, a finding that may explain widely divergent 14C results from several early East Polynesian sites and has implications for the dating of both island colonization and subsequent intra-island dispersals.
  • Modeling the Radiocarbon Reservoir Effect in Lacustrine Systems

    Yu, Shi-Yong; Shen, Ji; Colman, Steven M. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2007-01-01)
    The modern water (both pre- and post-atmospheric nuclear testing) of most lakes has an anomalously old apparent radiocarbon age due to what is commonly referred to as the reservoir effect. In contrast to marine settings, this 14C offset phenomenon is primarily caused by pre-aged carbon discharged to lakes by rivers and/or groundwater. In this paper, a 2-component box model based on the principle of 14C mass balance in lake water and in the early diagenesis zone was formulated to address the relative importance of terrestrial inputs, autochthonous production, and biogeochemical processes in the 14C reservoir of a lacustrine system. The model was tested using observed data from Lake Qinghai, the largest inland water body in China. Our inverse modeling using Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) techniques yields best estimates of the delta-14C of DIC in river (~118% modern) and groundwater (~76% modern), as well as the delta-14C of DOC in river water (~70% modern) during the post-bomb era. Assuming that these parameters remain constant over time, our modeling indicates that both the DIC and DOC pool of this lake have reservoir ages of about 1500 yr for the pre-bomb era, generally consistent with estimates obtained by extrapolation of the age-depth models of 2 sediment cores to the sediment surface.
  • Further Radiocarbon Dates for the Upper Paleolithic of El Mirón Cave (Ramales de la Victoria, Cantabria, Spain)

    Straus, Lawrence Guy; González Morales, Manuel R. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2007-01-01)
    This article expands the date list from the Stone Age cave site of El Mirón in the Cantabrian Cordillera of northern Spain to a total of 62 radiocarbon determinations, one of the longest series from a single prehistoric site in Iberia. All the assays (accelerator mass spectrometry [AMS] and conventional, run on charcoal and bone collagen) were done by a single laboratory (Geochron, GX). The 11 new dates confirm 1) the late spread of Neolithic economy and technology into the Atlantic environment of Cantabrian Spain by about 4500 cal BC; 2) the horizontally extensive, but not intensive, use of the whole cave vestibule by Upper Magdalenian foragers about 12,000-14,000 cal BC; 3) extensive and very intensive, repeated occupations of the cave during the Middle and Lower Cantabrian Magdalenian about 14,200-17,000 cal BC; and 4) a long, gradual technological transition from the Solutrean to the Archaic Magdalenian between about 20,000-17,000 cal BC. El Mirón joins a list of culturally very rich, frequently occupied, Lower Magdalenian residential hub sitesmost of the rest of which (including Altamira) are located in the coastal lowlands of Cantabria which have yielded distinctive red deer scapulae that are decorated with striated engraved images of game animals (mainly red deer hinds), now most precisely dated at El Mirón between 16,200-17,200 cal BC.
  • Further Radiocarbon Dates from the Catacombs of St. Callixtus in Rome

    Rutgers, Leonard V.; van der Borg, Klaas; de Jong, Arie F. M.; van der Linde, Constance; Prins, Jelle (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2007-01-01)
    This paper reports a further chronological assessment of the Christian catacombs of Rome by radiocarbon-dated organic materials in the so-called Liberian region of the catacombs of St. Callixtus on the Appian Way. 14C dates of various types of organic material are discussed and related to ages derived from numismatic evidence and epigraphic remains. The results show that this area of the catacombs of St. Callixtus is older than assumed by previous scholarship. We therefore conclude that the appellation Liberian region is a misnomer.
  • From the Editor

    Jull, A. J. T. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2007-01-01)
  • A Revised Late Holocene Culture History for Moloka'i Island, Hawai'i

    McCoy, Mark D. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2007-01-01)
    Building directly upon a previous summary of 45 dates (Weisler 1989), this paper presents radiocarbon age determinations for 175 samples from archaeological and natural contexts and a revised culture history of Moloka'i Island, Hawai;i (cal AD 800 and 1795). Significant culture historical trends include an early settlement pattern apparently generalized with respect to ecozone; a remarkably long initial period of marine and endemic bird exploitation; strong material evidence for the concurrent intensification of subsistence economies, population increase, and the structuring of the social landscape through ritual; and links between island politics as described in oral traditions and site construction. Moreover, these results support a late chronology for the colonization of Hawaii and demonstrate the value of spatial technology for building large chronometric databases.
  • A Tentative Determination of Upwelling Influence on the Paleo-Surficial Marine Water Reservoir Effect in Southeastern Brazil

    Angulo, Rodolfo J.; Reimer, Paula J.; De Souza, Maria; Sheel-Ybert, Rita; Tenório, Maria C.; Disaró, Sibelle T.; Gaspar, Maria D. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2007-01-01)
    Previous work has suggested that seasonal and interannual upwelling of deep, cold, radiocarbon-depleted waters from the South Atlantic has caused variations in the reservoir effect (R) through time along the southern coast of Brazil. This work aims to examine the possible upwelling influence on the paleoreservoir age of Brazilian surficial coastal waters based on paired terrestrial/marine samples obtained from archaeological remains. On the Brazilian coast, there are hundreds of shell middens built up by an ancient culture that lived between 6500 to 1500 yr ago, but there are few shell middens located on open-coast sites with a known upwelling influence. Three archaeological sites located in a large headland in Arraial do Cabo and Ilha de Cabo Frio on the southeastern coast of Brazil, with open-ocean conditions and a well-known strong and large upwelling of the Malvinas/Falkland current, were chosen for this study. The 14C age differences between carbonized seed and marine samples varied from 281 +/- 44 to 1083 +/- 51 14C yr. There are also significant age differences between carbonized seed samples (977 14C yr) and marine samples (200 and 228 14C yr) from the same archaeological layer that cannot be explained by a reservoir effect or an old-wood effect for charcoal. Therefore, the present data from the southeastern Brazilian coast are inconclusive for identifying an upwelling effect on R. To do so, it would be necessary to more precisely define the present pre-bomb R in upwelling regions, and to analyze paired marine/terrestrial samples that are contemporaneous beyond doubt.
  • 14C Groundwater Age and the Importance of Chemical Fluxes Across Aquifer Boundaries in Confined Cretaceous Aquifers of North Carolina, USA

    Kennedy, Casey D.; Genereux, David P. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 2007-01-01)
    Radiocarbon activity, He concentrations, and other geochemical parameters were measured in groundwater from the confined Black Creek (BC) and Upper Cape Fear (UCF) aquifers in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina. 14C ages adjusted for geochemical and diffusion effects ranged from 400 to 21,900 BP in the BC, and 13,400 to 26,000 BP in the underlying UCF; ages increased coastward in both aquifers. Long-term average linear groundwater velocity is about 2.5 m/yr for the BC, and somewhat larger for the UCF. Aquifer-aquitard exchange is an important influence on the DIC concentration, 14C activity, and estimated age of aquifer groundwater. Accounting for this exchange in 14C age calculations places the groundwater samples with the lowest estimated recharge temperatures nearest in time to the last glacial maximum. Traditional geochemical correction models that do not account for aquifer-aquitard exchange significantly overestimate groundwater age. He concentration in groundwater varies with both age and stratigraphic position. Dissolved He data provide strong evidence of upward vertical He transport through the study aquifers; data from the UCF are broadly consistent with the pattern expected for a confined aquifer receiving a concentrated, localized He flux from below (based on a previously published model for this situation), in this case most likely from crystalline bedrock. He has potential as an indicator of groundwater age in the study aquifers, if interpreted within an appropriate analytical framework that includes the observed strong vertical transport. delta-18O in the oldest groundwater is enriched (relative to modern groundwater) by 1 to 1.2, the opposite of the delta-18O depletion found in many old groundwaters but consistent with the enrichment found in groundwater in this age range in Georgia and Florida.