Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

RADIOCARBON DATING CREMATED BONE: A CASE STUDY COMPARING LABORATORY METHODS

  • Helene Agerskov Rose (a1), John Meadows (a1) (a2), Sanne W L Palstra (a3), Christian Hamann (a2), Mathieu Boudin (a4) and Matthias Huels (a2)...

Abstract

Radiocarbon (14C) results on cremated bone are frequently published in high-ranking journals, but 14C laboratories employ different pretreatment methods as they have divergent perceptions of what sources of contaminants might be present. We found pretreatment protocols to vary significantly between three laboratories (Brussels [RICH], Kiel [KIA], and Groningen [CIO]), which all have a long history of dating cremated bone. We present a case study of 6 sets of replicate dates, to compare laboratory pretreatment protocols, and a further 16 sets of inter-laboratory replicate measurements, which compare specific steps of the conversion and measuring process. The 14C results showed dates to be reproducible between the laboratories and consistent with the expected archaeological chronology. We found that differences in pretreatment, conversion to CO2 and accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) measurement to have no measurable influence on the majority of obtained results, suggesting that any possible diagenesis was probably restricted to the most soluble ≤5% of each sample, as this proportion of the sample mass was removed under all laboratory protocols.

Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author. Email: helene.rose@zbsa.eu.

Footnotes

Hide All

Selected Papers from the 23rd International Radiocarbon Conference, Trondheim, Norway, 17–22 June, 2018

Footnotes

References

Hide All
Becker, CJ. 1961. Førromersk jernalder i Syd- og Midtjylland. Kbh.: Nationalmuseet.
Boudin, M, Van Strydonck, M, van den Brande, T, Synal, H-A, Wacker, L. 2015. RICH – A new AMS facility at the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage, Brussels, Belgium. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 361:120123.
Bronk Ramsey, C. 1995. Radiocarbon calibration and analysis of stratigraphy: the OxCal Program. Radiocarbon 37(2):425430.
De Mulder, G, Van Strydonck, M, Boudin, M, Leclercq, W, Paridaens, N, Warmenbol, E. 2007. Re-evaluation of the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age chronology of the western Belgian urnfields based on 14C dating of cremated bones. Radiocarbon 49(2):499514.
Hüls, CM, Erlenkeuser, H, Nadeau, MJ, Grootes, PM, Andersen, N. 2010. Experimental study on the origin of cremated bone apatite carbon. Radiocarbon 52(2):587599.
Jensen, CK. 2005. Kontekstuel kronologi: en revision af det kronologiske grundlag for førromersk jernalder i Sydskandinavien. Højbjerg: Kulturlaget.
Jørgensen, E. 1975. Tuernes mysterier. Skalk 1975(1):310.
Lanting, JN, Aerts-Bijma, AT, van der Plicht, J. 2001. Dating of cremated bones. Radiocarbon 43(2A):249254.
Lindroos, A, Heinemeier, J, Ringbom, Å, Braskén, M, Sveinbjörnsdóttir, Á. 2007. Mortar dating using AMS 14C and sequential dissolution: examples from medieval, non-hydraulic lime mortars from the Åland Islands, SW Finland. Radiocarbon 49(1):4767.
Lorange, T. 2015. Det sakrale landskab ved Årre. Landskabets hukommelse gennem 4.000 års gravriter. In: Foss, P, Møller, NA, editors. De dødes landskab. Grav og gravskik i ældre jernalder i Danmark. Ribe: SAXO-instituttet, Københavns Universitet. p. 2136.
Nadeau, MJ, Grootes, PM, Schleicher, M, Hasselberg, P, Rieck, A, Bitterling, M. 1997. Sample throughput and data quality at the Leibniz-Labor AMS Facility. Radiocarbon 40(1):239445.
Naysmith, P, Scott, EM, Cook, GT, Heinemeier, J, Van der Plicht, J, Van Strydonck, M, Bronk Ramsey, C, Grootes, PM, Freeman, SPHT. 2007. A cremated bone intercomparison study. Radiocarbon 49(2):403408.
Olsen, J, Heinemeier, J, Bennike, P, Krause, C, Margrethe Hornstrup, K, Thrane, H. 2008. Characterisation and blind testing of radiocarbon dating of cremated bone. Journal of Archaeological Science 35(3):791800.
Olsen, J, Heinemeier, J, Hornstrup, KM, Bennike, P, Thrane, H. 2013. “Old wood” effect in radiocarbon dating of prehistoric cremated bones? Journal of Archaeological Science 40(1):3034.
Person, A, Bocherens, H, Saliège, J-F, Paris, F, Zeitoun, V, Gérard, M. 1995. Early diagenetic evolution of bone phosphate: an x-ray diffractometry analysis. Journal of Archaeological Science 22(2):211221.
Scheele, E. 2016. The Wapse urnfield revisited: the search for groups of urnfield users (prov. Drenthe, The Netherlands). LUNULA. Archaeologia Protohistorica XXIV(2016):8190.
Snoeck, C, Brock, F, Schulting, RJ. 2014. Carbon exchanges between bone apatite and fuels during cremation: impact on radiocarbon dates. Radiocarbon 56(2):591602.
Snoeck, C, Schulting, RJ, Lee-Thorp, JA, Lebon, M, Zazzo, A. 2016. Impact of heating conditions on the carbon and oxygen isotope composition of calcined bone. Journal of Archaeological Science 65:3243.
Stuiver, M, Polach, HA. 1977. Discussion: reporting of 14C data. Radiocarbon 19(3):355363.
Terkildsen, KF. 2015. Gravpladsen Årupgård som kilde til social stratifikation i førromersk jernalder. In: Foss, P, Møller, NA, editors. De dødes landskab. Grav og gravskik i ældre jernalder i Danmark. Ribe. p. 5170.
Van Strydonck, M, Boudin, M, Hoefkens, M, De Mulder, G. 2005. 14C-dating of cremated bones, why does it work? Lunula. Archaeologia Protohistorica XIII:310.
Van Strydonck, M, Boudin, M, De Mulder, G. 2009. 14C dating of cremated bones: the issue of sample contamination. Radiocarbon 51(2):553568.
Van Strydonck, M, Boudin, M, Mulder, GD. 2010. The carbon origin of structural carbonate in bone apatite of cremated bones. Radiocarbon 52(2):578586.
Ward, GK, Wilson, SR. 1978. Procedures for comparing and combining radiocarbon age determinations: a critique. Archaeometry 20(1):1931.
Wijma, S, Aerts, AT, van der Plicht, J, Zondervan, A. 1996. The Groningen AMS facility. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 113:465469.
Zazzo, A, Saliège, JF, Person, A, Boucher, H. 2009. Radiocarbon dating of calcined bones: where does the carbon come from? Radiocarbon 51(2):601611.
Zazzo, A, Saliège, J-F, Lebon, M, Lepetz, S, Moreau, C. 2012. Radiocarbon dating of calcined bones: insights from combustion experiments under natural conditions. Radiocarbon 54(3–4):855866.

Keywords

Type Description Title
WORD
Supplementary materials

Agerskov Rose et al. supplementary material
Appendix 1

 Word (15 KB)
15 KB
WORD
Supplementary materials

Agerskov Rose et al. supplementary material
Appendix 2

 Word (23 KB)
23 KB

Metrics

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