Problems with Radiometric "Time": Dating the Initial Human Colonization of Sahul
AuthorWebb, R. Esmée
Lesser Sunda Islands
accelerator mass spectra
MetadataShow full item record
CitationWebb, R. E. (1998). Problems with radiometric “time”: Dating the initial human colonization of Sahul. Radiocarbon, 40(2), 749-758.
DescriptionFrom the 16th International Radiocarbon Conference held in Gronigen, Netherlands, June 16-20, 1997.
AbstractUntil recently, the only chronometric technique applied to Sahulian archaeological sites was 14C dating; the ages obtained rarely exceeded 40,000 BP. Belief that the region was first colonized around that time has recently been shaken by luminescence dates from several archaeological sites in northern Australia that suggest people arrived between 60,000 and 55,000 BP. The ensuing debate over their validity revealed that some participants misunderstood luminescence dating and the temporal limitations of 14C dating, illustrated here through a discussion of the tempo and mode of Sahulian colonization. Radiometric techniques cannot distinguish between the models proposed because they are unable to resolve temporal issues that occur within their limits of error.