Browsing Radiocarbon, Volume 32, Number 1 (1990) by Subjects
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Dating the Turin Shroud—An AssessmentAn assessment is made of the credibility of the radiocarbon dating of the shroud of Turin. The quoted final results produced a calibrated calendar age range of AD 1260–1390 for the linen of the Turin shroud at a 95% confidence level. The measurements were carried out independently in three accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) laboratories located at the University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA, Oxford University, Oxford, England, and ETH-Hönggerberg, Zürich, Switzerland with assistance for certification and data analysis provided by the British Museum. The author concludes that, although the procedures followed differed substantially from those recommended at a workshop organized by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the results are credible. Although of negligible scientific value, they represent a major public triumph for the AMS method of carbon dating. However, many doubts have been raised, both real and fanciful, concerning the validity of the results and these are discussed. It is suggested that steps should be taken to conserve the shroud and that permission should be given for its examination by experts in medieval art.
Some Radiocarbon Dates for Tufas of the Craven District of Yorkshire14C dates of relict tufa deposits at Gordale indicated a Subboreal age when the carbonate age was corrected with empirical bedrock dilution factors ‘q’ of 0.79 or 0.85. Estimates of ‘apparent age,’ based on extrapolated Delta-13C values were about twice those obtained with q, and the 1 sigma error was large. The Delta--13C values of tufa samples were not correlated with carbonate age and were close to −10. Application of q values in this district requires caution as they appear to be site-specific. We recommend that wherever possible, levels of 13C and 14C are measured in the associated tufa-depositing water, and an empirical dilution factor employed.
Survey of the Dispersion of 14C in the Vicinity of the UK Reprocessing Site at SellafieldWe have been measuring 14C in natural, biological materials growing in the vicinity of Sellafield, Cumbria as a continuing project with BNFL to understand the dispersion of releases from the site over several seasons. We have measured locally grown foodstuffs for monitoring purposes, individual tree rings to establish a chronology of releases, hawthorn berries for spatial investigations and are now carrying out controlled plot uptake experiments. We have been attempting to validate a current dispersion model (Clarke 1979) over a six-year period, and although we observe general agreement in most years, certain anomalies, which probably relate to topographical features, are leading to more detailed correlation with local meteorological data.