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CitationIlger, W., Hyman, M., Southon, J., & Rowe, M. (1995). Dating pictographs with radiocarbon. Radiocarbon, 37(2), 299-310.
AbstractWe report here progress on our technique for 14C dating pictographs. We use low-temperature oxygen plasmas coupled with high-vacuum techniques to selectively remove carbon-containing material in the paints without contamination from rock substrates or accretions. We dated >16 pictograph samples that generally agree with ages expected on the basis of archaeological inference. We have shown that carbonate and calcium oxalate decomposition does not occur during our procedure; little mass fractionation is produced. We also used the technique on samples of known 14C activity. In each case our results agree with previously determined ages of archaeological charcoal samples. Two samples of the standard Third International Radiocarbon Intercomparison wood yielded ages in near accord with the accepted value. We used 14C-free samples to establish that the method and apparatus do not have a significant live carbon background. Each of these determinations supports our conclusion that the technique has the potential of producing accurate and reliable ages. However, background organic material in the basal rocks and accretions can be troublesome, often completely negating the dates obtained.