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A Model for Calculating Freshwater Reservoir Offsets on AMS-Dated Charred, Encrusted Cooking Residues Formed from Varying Resources

  • John P Hart (a1)

Abstract

The freshwater reservoir effect (FRE) hypothesis suggests that ancient carbon from aquatic organisms incorporated into AMS-dated charred, encrusted cooking residues on interior pottery walls produces old apparent radiocarbon ages. This hypothesis has been used primarily in northern European final Mesolithic contexts to explain 14C ages on cooking residues that are thought to be too old relative to 14C ages obtained on terrestrial samples, resulting in so-called freshwater reservoir offsets (FROs). More recently, the hypothesis has been cited in interpretations of 14C ages from residues in the North American Plains and elsewhere. This article presents a model using an Excel spreadsheet that allows calculation of FROs with varying inputs of dead carbon and aquatic and terrestrial resources.

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