• Study of the Effect of Fossil Organic Carbon on 14C in Groundwater from Hvinningdal, Denmark

      Boaretto, E.; Thorling, L.; Sveinbjörnsdóttir, Á. E.; Yechieli, Y.; Heinemeier, J. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      The carbonate hydrochemistry of groundwater from the Hvinningdal aquifer (Denmark) was studied by radiocarbon (accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS)) and delta-13C measurements as a preliminary step towards 14C groundwater dating. The 14C concentrations varied between 30 and 100 percent modern carbon (pMC) in apparent contradiction with tritium (3H) data, which in most cases indicate a post-bomb date. The dilution of 14C can be explained as being due to the combined effect of dissolution of old soil carbonate and oxidation of old organic carbon. The last effect proved to be essential. To calculate this correction the dissolved oxygen concentration was used together with the delta-13C values. The combined corrections bring the 14C concentrations up to post-bomb levels in better agreement with the 3H data.
    • Factors Influencing 14C Ages of the Pacific Rat Rattus exulans

      Ragano Beavan, Nancy; Sparks, Rodger J. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      An isotopic database for the Pacific/Polynesian rat (Rattus exulans) and foods that it scavenges is used to examine diet-induced 14C age variation in omnivores. We discuss a suite of 26 Delta-14C determinations and 13C and 15N analysis for modern Pacific/Polynesian rat bone gelatin and available food items from Kapiti Island, New Zealand (40 degrees 51'S, 174 degrees 75'E). These analyses provide the first isotopic data for modern specimens of the species, collected as part of a larger project to determine potential sources of bias in unexpectedly old 14C age measurements on subfossil specimens of R. Exulans from New Zealand. Stable C, N and 14C isotopic and trapping data are used to trace carbon intake via the diet of the rats in each habitat. Data from specimens linked to five specific habitats on the island indicate that modern populations of R. Exulans are not in equilibrium with atmospheric values of Delta-14C, being either enriched or depleted relative to the atmospheric curve in 1996/97, the period of collection. The Delta-14C values recorded for R. Exulans are associated with diet, and result from variation in Delta-14C values found in animal-protein food items available to a scavenging omnivore. The titer of carbon deviating from atmospheric values is believed to be derived from the essential amino acids in the protein-rich foods of the rat diet. Present evidence suggests that the depletion required to affect 14C ages limits the possibility that diet introduces dramatic offsets from true ages. Marine diets, for example, would have a variable effect on ages for terrestrial omnivores, contraindicating the application of a standard marine correction for such specimens. We suggest that to identify the extent to which diet may influence the 14C age in a given specimen of terrestrial omnivore, the separation and dating of essential amino acids vs. A nonessential amino, such as glycine, be applied.
    • Radiometric Dating of Young and Old Calcrete

      Geyh, Mebus A.; Eitel, Bernhard (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      To obtain a better understanding of the relationship between calcrete genesis and the results of different absolute dating methods, thermoluminescence (TL), radiocarbon (14C) and uranium/thorium (U/Th) were applied to coeval samples taken from a very young calcrete profile in Namibia. The methodically different ages reflect the characteristics of the applied dating methods, the genetics of calcrete and different events of calcrete genesis. The conventional 14C ages and the TL dates cover the last 50 ka, while the corresponding U/Th dates of coeval samples are many times larger. Uranium-series dates are not related to the deposition of the host material or to its cementation if the ages are smaller than ca. 120 ka. The TL clock is set to zero during eolian transport and the corresponding radiometric ages of the quartz and feldspar grains date the time of their deposition. The 14C ages of the cement correspond, on the other hand, to a time shortly after the onset of the cementation and long before its termination. In the case of very old calcrete, the mixture of young and old cement results in ambiguous ages if they cannot be confirmed by an independent technique.
    • 14C Chronology of Stone Age Cultures in the Russian Far East

      Kuzmin, Yaroslav V.; Jull, A. J. T.; Orlova, Lyobov A.; Sulerzhitsky, Leopold D. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      Ca. 150 unequivocal 14C dates from the prehistoric cultures in the Russian Far East can be used to elucidate chrono-cultural boundaries in that region. Microblade technology started as early as ca. 20,000 BP, and continued to exist in the middle Amur River basin until ca. 10,500 BP, and in Primorye until ca. 7800 BP. The emergence of pottery-making in the lower Amur River basin goes back to ca. 13,300 BP. The transition from Upper Paleolithic to Neolithic took place during the time interval 13,300-7800 BP and pottery was widely spread in the Russian Far East by ca. 6700-8400 BP. The first evidence of shellfish collection is estimated to ca. 6400 BP at Peter the Great Gulf coast, Sea of Japan. The beginning of agriculture in Primorye, based on finding of both millet seeds (Setaria italica L.) and pollen of cultivated cereals (Cerealia), is 14C-dated to ca. 4200-3700 BP (ca. 1980-2900 cal BC). The Neolithic/Early Iron Age boundary was estimated at ca. 3100-3300 BP (1400-1600 cal BC) in the mainland Russian Far East, and to ca. 1800-2300 BP (400 cal BC-200 cal AD) on the Sakhalin and southern Kuril Islands.
    • 14C Chronology of Archaeological Sites in European Russia and Changes in Environmental Processes: A Database Investigation

      Zaitseva, Ganna I.; Dergachev, Valentin A.; Timofeev, Vladimir; Sementsov, Anatoly A. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      A large number of 14C dates for archaeological sites in European Russia have been entered into a new database. The database includes >1500 dates for ca. 500 archaeological sites. Because European Russia is a very large area, the database includes subdivisions of territories and regions. We analyzed our 14C dates according to archaeological periods (Paleolithic through Medieval period) and made a comparison with environmental (climatic) parameters. Our database for archaeological sites and monuments offers new possibilities for correlation between the development of ancient cultures and natural-climatic processes.
    • The First 14C Dating of Monuments in European Scythia

      Zaitseva, Ganna I.; Possnert, Göran; Alekseev, Andrey Yu. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      The first radiocarbon dates for the famous monuments of European Scythia were produced for the Kelermes, Seven Brothers, Solocha and Chertomlyk barrows (burial mounds) by both accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) and conventional methods. The obtained 14C dates confirmed the traditional archaeological chronology, which was based on the analysis of written data and typological comparisons of Scythian artifacts with similar objects found in the Ancient East and Greece. The 14C dates for the European Scythian monuments are compared with the Asian ones. The 14C chronology of the European Scythian monuments shows chronological synchronisms between the Asiatic and European monuments. The calibrated ages for the investigated barrows generally agree with the archaeological data.
    • The Early History of Moscow: 14C Dates from Red Square

      Alexandrovskiy, Alexander L.; van der Plicht, Johannes; Krenke, Nikolay; Chichagova, Olga A.; Kovaliukh, Nikolai N.; Sulerzhitsky, Leopold D. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      For the first time, a series of 14C dates has been obtained for samples from the archaeological excavations in Red Square, the historical center of Moscow. The remains of burned dwellings from the bottom of the cultural layer were dated as well as dispersed charcoal from the underlying plough soil. The results correspond to a 200-yr time interval and prove that arable activity at the site began as early as the late 11th century AD. The field belonged to Moscow itself or to rural settlements nearby. The oldest dwelling was built ca. The late 12th-early 13th century AD.
    • The Chronology of the Subotiv Settlement

      Klochko, Victor I.; Kovaliukh, Nikolai N.; Skripkin, Vadim V.; Motzenbecker, Ingo (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      Samples collected at the Chornoliska culture site near the village of Subotiv, Cherkasy region during the 1994-1995 Ukrainian-German expedition were radiocarbon dated in Kiev. The foundation of the Subotiv settlement dates to 1300-1200 cal BC. A skeleton found in one of the buildings at this site is dated at the end of the early period (between 1120 and 1040 cal BC). In the youngest part (a small town) of the Subotiv settlement, we found the remains of a "building sacrifice"—the skeleton of a teenager. The average calibrated date for this skeleton is 834-807 cal BC, whereas the timber from the rampart dates between 902-810 cal BC. Thus, the rampart was apparently built between 834-807 cal BC. Among the objects found on the site were Arzhan-type bone arrowheads. Such arrowheads, when found in Eastern Europe, are believed to indicate the military expansion of Proto-Scythian nomads. The Sargary settlement in western Kazakhstan dates to 960-820 cal BC, the Arzhan arrow in Siberia to 960-850 cal BC. We assume that the Chornogorivka complexes in eastern Eurasia date to the earlier time period (960-820) than those in western Eurasia (834-807). The time of the Chornogorivka expansion on the territory of Ukraine is therefore within the range 834 to 820 BC.
    • New 14C Dating of the Archaic Royal Necropolis Umm el-Qaab at Abydos (Egypt)

      Görsdorf, Jochen; Dreyer, Günther; Hartung, Ulrich (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      Since 1977, the German Institute of Archaeology in Cairo has been reexamining the archaic Royal necropolis Umm el-Qaab at Abydos (ca. 500 km south of Cairo). The necropolis consists of the tomb complexes of six kings and one queen of Dynasty I as well as two kings of Dynasty II in the southern part, the cemetery with royal tombs from Dynasty 0 and early Dynasty I in the middle and the predynastic cemetery in the northern part. Although partly destroyed and deprived of most of their contents, the tombs and the remaining artifacts are a major source for the early dynastic period and are of utmost importance for the understanding of predynastic development during Naqada I-II and the chronology of the formation of Egyptian culture. Sixteen newly 14C-dated samples were mainly taken from remains of wooden roofs and coffins, or in the case of the earliest tombs from mattings. The dating results in general are in good accordance with the relative archaeological dating of the tombs, but 100-150 yr earlier than the so far established historical chronology.
    • 14C Dating of a Neolithic Field System at Céide Fields, County Mayo, Ireland

      Caulfield, Seamas; O'Donnell, R. G.; Mitchell, P. I. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      Ceide Fields is a 12 km2 Neolithic field system in North Mayo in the west of Ireland. The fields, enclosed by an integrated system of stone walls, have been preserved intact by a cover of blanket bog that is >4 m deep in places. At many locations within this blanket bog the stumps of ancient pines (Pinus sylvestris) are found in situ. The pine roots in most cases are either on the surface of the mineral soil under the peat or at an intermediate level in the peat itself. The age of the trees in the bog overlying Ceide Fields is therefore of great significance for the dating of the fields, as the trees must be younger than the bog in which they are growing, which in turn must be younger than the field system beneath it. We present here the dates (N = 15) for pine trees from the bogs overlying Ceide Fields and the dates (N = 29) of pine trees from other areas of the North Mayo blanket bog. We compare these pine dates with published dates of peat associated with a major pollen analytical study from within the fields and with published dates for bog pine from Scotland. The results of the study suggest that the dates for the construction and period of use of Ceide Fields and other Neolithic pre-bog field systems in North Mayo are older than anticipated and that the date for initiation of blanket bog in many parts of North Mayo is also older than previously estimated. Further, the range of dates of the pine stumps indicates a synchronic event contemporary with a similar phenomenon observed in Scotland.
    • 14C Dating Ancient Japanese Documents

      Oda, Hirotaka; Nakamura, Toshio; Furukawa, Michiaki (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      We measured radiocarbon ages of 11 pieces of ancient Japanese documents by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). The purpose of this study is to compare the relationship between the calibrated 14C age and the historical age of Japanese paper samples. Calibrated ages of nine pieces agree with their historical ages, indicating that Japanese ancient documents can be used for 14C dating in the recent historic period. On the other hand, the 14C age of paper that was used for reinforcement of a sutra is ca. 300 yr older than the historical age of the sutra. This shows that the sutra was repaired with old paper.
    • The 14C Chronology of the Son Mas Sanctuary Site (Valldemosa, Mallorca, Spain)

      Van, Strydonck Y.; Waldren, William H.; Hendrix, Veerle (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      With >40 14C dates, mainly on bones and charcoal, the site at Son Mas is the only megalithic sanctuary on the Balearic Islands that has been dated by 14C in detail. Although soil erosion made stratigraphy difficult and the monument was cleaned out regularly during its long use, the results demonstrate that the site was occupied from the Pretalayotic (Chalcolithic) until the Roman period. The aim of this study was not only to date the construction and the use of the sanctuary, but also to correlate this monument, by means of dispersion diagrams, with the other prehistoric sites situated within the same valley. The dates were also used to compare the site with the generally accepted chronology of the Balearic archipelago (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera).
    • 14C Dating of Late Pleistocene-Holocene Events on Kunashir Island, Kuril Islands

      Bazarova, V. B.; Razjigaeva, N. G.; Grebennikova, T. A.; Ganzey, L. A.; Mokhova, L. M.; Korotky, A. M.; Sulerzhitsky, L. D. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      Kunashir Island is a very important site for paleoenvironmental reconstructions. Until recently, very little information on Quaternary deposits was available. We studied the environmental evolution of this oceanic island under the influence of geomorphological processes, volcanism and strong marine currents. This paper presents new data that allow a detailed reconstruction of the environmental development of Kunashir Island during the Late Pleistocene-Holocene, based on ca. 80 radiocarbon dates and diatom, pollen and sedimentological data. The vegetation development reflects climate changes and warm/cold current migrations.
    • Molecular, Radioactive and Stable Isotope Characterization of Estuarine Particulate Organic Matter

      Megens, Luc; van der Plicht, Johannes; D Leeuw, J. W. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      Organic matter in sediments and suspended matter is a complex mixture of constituents with different histories, sources and stabilities. To study these components in a suspended matter sample from the Ems-Dollard Estuary, we used combined molecular analysis with pyrolysis/gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and stable and radioactive carbon isotope analyses of the bulk and separated chemical fractions. Carbohydrates and proteins, ca. 50% of the total organic carbon (TOC), are much younger than the bulk sample and have a somewhat higher delta-13C value. Lipids and the final residue are considerably older and have lower delta-13C values. The final residue, ca. 17% of the total carbon, consists mainly of aliphatic macromolecules that could be derived from algae or terrestrial plants. The delta-13C value points to a marine origin.
    • 14C AMS Dating of Icelandic Lake Sediments

      Sveinbjörnsdóttir, Árný E.; Heinemeier, Jann; Kristensen, Peter; Rud, Niels; Geirsdóttir, Áslaug; Harđardóttir, Jóhann (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      We report an age-depth profile for the sediments of the Lake Hestvatn, southern Iceland, based on 14C analyses of the organic fraction of bulk sediment samples, molluscs and foraminifera. Our age-depth curve is supported by the occurrence of the well-dated Vedde ash in the lowermost part of the sediments. Comparison of foraminifera dates with the age of the Vedde ash indicates a reservoir age of ca. 400 yr. The results suggest that the sediments at Hestvatn accumulated in a marine environment until ca. 8700 BP and thereafter in freshwater. Owing to the lack of terrestrial macrofossils and the low concentration of molluscs and foraminifera, we were forced to attempt to date most of the core with the organic fraction of the bulk sediment samples. We found, however, that this fraction is not homogeneous in density or 14C age. We believe that during sample pretreatment we managed to isolate a light organic fraction, which closely represents the true age of the sediment, whereas the denser fraction yields ages that are too high. This age diversity may to some extent be explained by the large drainage area of the lake, from which plant remains of different ages may have been washed into the lake.
    • 14C Ages of Terrestrial Macrofossils from Lago Grande di Monticchio (Italy)

      Hajdas, Irka; Bonani, Georges; Zolitschka, Bernd; Brauer, Achim; Negendank, Jörg W. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      Lago Grande di Monticchio (Italy) contains long sedimentary records of >75 ka (Zolitschka and Negendank 1996). In a joint European project (Creer and Thouveny 1996), vegetation history and climatic changes for this part of the Mediterranean have been reconstructed (Watts, Allen and Huntley 1996; Watts et al. 1996). In addition to the time scale based on annual laminations and sedimentation rate, tephra layers and pollen spectra, radiocarbon dating was applied for the last 40 ka. Previous studies have shown that the age of bulk sediment from Lago Grande di Monticchio, which is a maar lake at the flanks of Mt. Vulture, was influenced by "dead carbon" of volcanic origin dissolved in the lake water. Thus, 14C dating of the record is problematic and must be limited to dating macrofossils of terrestrial origin. From a set of sediment samples, macrofossils were selected and dated using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). A 14C time scale based on seven data points between 9000 and 24,000 BP is compared with other dating of the record based on varve counting and tephrochronology (Zolitschka 1996).
    • Dating a Chalcolithic Burial Cave in Peqi'in, Upper Galilee, Israel

      Segal, Dror; Carmi, Israel; Gal, Zvi; Smithline, Howard; Shalem, Dina (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      In May 1995 an impressive karstic cave possessing dozens of burials dating to the main phase of the Chalcolithic Period (ca. 4500-3500 BCE) was discovered in Peqi'in in the high hills of Galilee in northern Israel. It was subsequently excavated over the course of the following months. The large amount of unique ceramic ossuaries and the variety of burial offerings shed light, for the first time, on this critical societal development period in a region where its remains have rarely been found. Although the major significance of the cave is as a mortuary center, it was also utilized in a domestic capacity some centuries previously, during the generally less familiar Early Chalcolithic Period. We present here the dating of 22 14C samples collected from these separate phases of cave use. Their interpretation should aid in understanding of the absolute dating of the Chalcolithic Period and its relation to the period preceding its inception.
    • Associate Editors

      Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01
    • An Extended Prehistoric Well Field in the Opencast Mine Area of Zwenkau, Germany

      Stäuble, Harald; Hiller, Achim (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      In the opencast mine area of Zwenkau, Germany, many prehistoric wells and pits have recently been excavated. In this region there is generally no bone preservation and charred seeds are rare, seldom encountered in a reliable archaeological context, whereas charcoal is frequently found. From an archaeological point of view, however, charcoal from wood is not as reliable for radiocarbon dating as short-lived materials. Fortunately, many deep features were found where wood has been preserved. Over a dozen structures turned out to be prehistoric wells, some of them typologically dated by ceramics to between Early Bronze Age and Early Middle Ages. For other features without archaeological finds, 14C dating was the only way to get an age. Analysis showed that different types of wells were constructed by the same culture. On the other hand, the same constructions are not characteristic for a defined cultural period and were applied over a time span of three millennia.
    • Reappraisal of Chinese Loess Plateau Stratigraphic Sequences Over the Last 30,000 Years: Precursors of an Important Holocene Monsoon Climatic Event

      Zhou, Weijian; An, Zhisheng; Jull, A. J. T.; Donahue, D. J.; Head, M. J. (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)
      Through the establishment of radiocarbon chronozones relating common geological events within lacustrine and eolian sediments from five profiles representative of loess yuan (tablelands), river valley and northwest margin features of the Loess Plateau, we propose a series of stratigraphic divisions within the last 30 ka. The focus of this detailed study involves stratigraphic relationships contributing to evidence of Younger Dryas events, with the recognition of cold-dry, cool-wet and cold-dry periods represented within the Heiheze silt, Midiwan peat and Liushuwan eolian sand. The stratigraphic profiles reflect century-scale fluctuations of the East Asian monsoons. The precursor events enable us to place the Pleistocene/Holocene boundary at 10,000 BP.