Skip to main content Accessibility help

Investigating the Local Reservoir Age and Stable Isotopes of Shells from Southeast Arabia

  • Susanne Lindauer (a1) (a2), Soraya Marali (a3), Bernd R Schöne (a3), Hans-Peter Uerpmann (a4), Bernd Kromer (a1) and Matthias Hinderer (a2)...


We recently started a systematic approach to determine the reservoir age in southeast Arabia and its dependence on mollusk species and their environment. This part of the study concentrates on local reservoir age and stable isotopes of the lagoonal species Terebralia palustris and Anadara uropigimelana at Khor Kalba, Oman Sea. Environmental and nutritive influences on mollusks are reflected in the radiocarbon and stable isotope signal. We found a local reservoir age of A. uropigimelana of about 940 yr and that of T. palustris as 800 yr. Sclerochronological analyses yielded information about seasonality of growth and death in A. uropigimelana. The modern shell of Periglypta reticulata shares food resources and habitat with Anadara sp., of which we did not find a modern specimen. It provided information on response to changes in temperature in the lagoonal system needed for suitability as reflecting climatic conditions. We were interested in carbon pathways of the mangrove in Kalba and a mangrove planted anew on a former mangrove sediment in Ajman. Being an obvious source of charcoal and food of T. palustris makes this information necessary. Further analyses will be performed to interpret changes in reservoir age in complex lagoonal systems as reaction to environmental variability.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author. Email:


Hide All

Selected Papers from the 2015 Radiocarbon Conference, Dakar, Senegal, 16–20 November 2015



Hide All
Armitage, SJ, Jasim, SA, Marks, AE, Parker, AG, Usik, VI, Uerpmann, H-P. 2011. The southern route ‘out of Africa’: evidence for an early expansion of modern humans into Arabia. Science 331(6016):453456.
Azzoug, M, Carré, M, Schauer, AJ. 2012. Reconstructing the duration of the West African Monsoon season from growth patterns and isotopic signals of shells of Anadara senilis (Saloum Delta, Senegal). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 346–347:145152.
Berger, JF, Cleuziou, S, Davtian, G, Cattani, M, Cavulli, F, Charpentier, V, Cremaschi, M, Giraud, J, Marquis, P, Martin, C, Méry, S, Plaziat, JC, Saliège, JF. 2005. Évolution paléogéographique du Ja’alan (Oman) à l’Holocène moyen: impact sur l'évolution des paléomilieux littoraux et les stratégies d’adaptation des communautés humaines. Paléorient 31(1):4663.
Berger, JF, Charpentier, V, Crassard, R, Martin, C, Davtian, G, López-Sáez, JA. 2013. The dynamics of mangrove ecosystems, changes in sea level and the strategies of Neolithic settlements along the coast of Oman (6000–3000 cal. BC). Journal of Archaeological Science 40:30873104.
Bieler, R, Kappner, I, Mikkelsen, PM. 2004. Periglypta listeri (J. E. Gray, 1838) (Bivalvia: Veneridae) in the western Atlantic: taxonomy, anatomy, life habits and distribution. Malacologia 46(2):427458.
Culleton, BJ, Kennett, DJ, Ingram, BL, Erlandson, JM, Southon, JR. 2006. Intrashell radiocarbon variability in marine mollusks. Radiocarbon 48(3):387400.
Debenay, JP, Tack, DL, Ba, M, Sy, I. 1994. Environmental conditions, growth and production of Anadara senilis (Linnaeus, 1758) in a Senegal Lagoon. Journal of Molluscan Studies 60(2):113121.
Dutta, K. 2008. Marine 14C reservoir age and Suess effect in the Indian Ocean. Journal of Earth Science India I(III):175188.
Evans, JW. 1972. Tidal growth increments in the cockle Clinocardium nuttallii . Science 176(4033):416417.
Füllenbach, CS, Schöne, BR, Mertz-Kraus, R. 2015. Strontium/lithium ratio in aragonitic shells of Cerastoderma edule (Bivalvia) — a new potential temperature proxy for brackish environments. Chemical Geology 417:341355.
Grossman, EL, Ku, T-L. 1986. Oxygen and carbon isotope fractionation in biogenic aragonite: temperature effects. Chemical Geology: Isotope Geoscience 59:5974.
Hallmann, N, Burchell, M, Schöne, BR, Irvine, GV, Maxwell, D. 2009. High-resolution sclerochronological analysis of the bivalve mollusk Saxidomus gigantea from Alaska and British Columbia: techniques for revealing environmental archives and archaeological seasonality. Journal of Archaeological Science 36(10):23532364.
House, MR, Farrow, GE. 1968. Daily growth banding in the shell of the cockle, Cardium edule . Nature 219(5161):13841386.
Jones, DS, Arthur, MA, Allard, DJ. 1989. Sclerochronological records of temperature and growth from shells of Mercenaria mercenaria from Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. Marine Biology 102:225234.
Khim, B-K, Krantz, DE, Cooper, LW, Grebmeier, JM. 2003. Seasonal discharge of estuarine freshwater to the western Chukchi Sea shelf identified in stable isotope profiles of mollusk shells. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 108(C9):3300.
Kromer, B, Lindauer, S, Synal, H-A, Wacker, L. 2013. MAMS - a new AMS facility at the Curt-Engelhorn-Centre for Achaeometry, Mannheim, Germany. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 294:1113.
Lindauer, S, Kromer, B. 2013. Carbonate sample preparation for 14C dating using an elemental analyzer. Radiocarbon 55(2–3):364372.
Marali, S, Schöne, BR. 2015. Oceanographic control on shell growth of Arctica islandica (Bivalvia) in surface waters of Northeast Iceland — implications for paleoclimate reconstructions. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 420:138149.
Milano, S, Schöne, BR, Witbaard, R. 2015. Changes of shell microstructural characteristics of Cerastoderma edule (Bivalvia) — a novel proxy for water temperature. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2015.09.051.
Ohno, T. 1989. Palaeotidal characteristics determined by micro-growth patterns in bivalves. Palaeontology 32(2):217263.
Pape, E, Muthumbi, A, Kamanu, CP, Vanreusel, A. 2008. Size-dependent distribution and feeding habits of Terebralia palustris in mangrove habitats of Gazi Bay, Kenya. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 76(4):797808.
Patel, B, Patel, S, Balani, MC, Pawar, S. 1978. Flux of certain radionuclides in the blood-clam Anadara granosa Linneaus under environmental conditions. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 35(2):177195.
Petchey, F, Clark, G. 2011. Tongatapu hardwater: investigation into the 14C marine reservoir offset in lagoon, reef and open ocean environments of a limestone island. Quaternary Geochronology 6(6):539549.
Petchey, F, Ulm, S, David, B, McNiven, I, Asmussen, B, Tomkins, H, Dolby, N, Aplin, K, Richards, T, Rowe, C, Leavesley, M, Mandui, H. 2013. High-resolution radiocarbon dating of marine materials in archaeological contexts: radiocarbon marine reservoir variability between Anadara, Gafrarium, Batissa, Polymesoda spp. and Echinoidea at Caution Bay, Southern Coastal Papua New Guinea. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 5(1):6980.
Phillips, CS, Mosseri-Marlio, CE. 2002. Sustaining change: the emerging picture of the Neolithic to Iron Age subsistence economy at Kalba, Sharjah Emirate, UAE. Fifth International Symposium on the Archaeozoology of Southwestern Asia and Adjacent areas, Amman, Jordan. Groningen: ARC-Publicaties.
Rodelli, MR, Gearing, JN, Gearing, PJ, Marshall, N, Sasekumar, A. 1984. Stable isotope ratio as a tracer of mangrove carbon in Malaysian ecosystems. Oecologia 61(3):326333.
Rollins, HB, Sandweiss, DH, Rollins, JC. 1990. Mollusks and coastal archaeology; a review. In: Decade of North American Geology, Centennial Special Volume 4 “Archaeological Geology of North America. Denver: Geological Society of America. p 467478.
Schöne, BR. 2008. The curse of physiology – challenges and opportunities in the interpretation of geochemical data from mollusk shells. Geo-Marine Letters 28(5):269285.
Schöne, BR, Surge, DM. 2012. Bivalve Sclerochronology and Geochemistry. Part N (Revised), Volume 1 Mollusca 6 Bivalvia. Lawrence: Paleontological Institute University of Kansas. p 124.
Schöne, BR, Dunca, E, Fiebig, J, Pfeiffer, M. 2005a. Mutvei’s solution: an ideal agent for resolving microgrowth structures of biogenic carbonates. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 228(1–2):149166.
Schöne, BR, Fiebig, J, Pfeiffer, M, Gleβ, R, Hickson, J, Johnson, ALA, Dreyer, W, Oschmann, W. 2005b. Climate records from a bivalved Methuselah (Arctica islandica, Mollusca; Iceland). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 228(1–2):130148.
Schöne, BR, Wanamaker, AD Jr, Fiebig, J, Thébault, J, Kreutz, K. 2011. Annually resolved δ13C shell chronologies of long-lived bivalve mollusks (Arctica islandica) reveal oceanic carbon dynamics in the temperate North Atlantic during recent centuries. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 302(1–2):3142.
Soulet, G. 2015. Methods and codes for reservoir–atmosphere 14C age offset calculations. Quaternary Geochronology 29:97103.
Southon, J, Kashgarian, M, Fontugne, M, Metivier, B, Yim, WW-S. 2002. Marine reservoir corrections for the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia. Radiocarbon 44(1):167180.
Tebano, T, Paulay, G. 2000. Variable recruitment and changing environments create a fluctuating resource: the biology of Andara uropigimelana (Bivalvia: Arcidae) on Tarawa Atoll. Atoll Research Bulletin 488:115.
von Bertalanffy, L. 1938. A quantitative theory of organic growth (inquiries on growth laws. II). Human Biology 10:181213.
Wacker, L, Fülöp, RH, Hajdas, I, Molnár, M, Rethemeyer, J. 2013. A novel approach to process carbonate samples for radiocarbon measurements with helium carrier gas. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 294:214217.
Wanamaker, AD Jr, Kreutz, KJ, Schöne, BR, Introne, DS. 2011. Gulf of Maine shells reveal changes in seawater temperature seasonality during the Medieval Climate Anomaly and the Little Ice Age. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 302(1–2):4351.
Zazzo, A. 2014. Bone and enamel carbonate diagenesis: a radiocarbon prospective. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 416:168178.
Zazzo, A, Munoz, O, Saliége, J-F, Moreau, C. 2012. Variability in the marine radiocarbon reservoir effect in Muscat (Sultanate of Oman) during the 4th millennium BC: reflection of taphonomy or environment? Journal of Archaeological Science 39(7):25592567.
Zazzo, A, Lebon, M, Chiotti, L, Comby, C, Delqué-Kolic, E, Nespoulet, R, Reiche, I. 2013. Can we use calcined bones for radiocarbon dating the Paleolithic? Radiocarbon 55(2–3):14091421.
Zazzo, A, Munoz, O, Badel, E, Béguier, I, Genchi, F, Marcucci, LG. 2016. A revised radiocarbon chronology of the aceramic shell midden of Ra’s Al-Hamra 6 (Muscat, Sultanate of Oman): implication for occupational sequence, marine reservoir age, and human mobility. Radiocarbon 58(2):383395.


Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Investigating the Local Reservoir Age and Stable Isotopes of Shells from Southeast Arabia

  • Susanne Lindauer (a1) (a2), Soraya Marali (a3), Bernd R Schöne (a3), Hans-Peter Uerpmann (a4), Bernd Kromer (a1) and Matthias Hinderer (a2)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.