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Radiocarbon Dating of Single Compounds Isolated from Pottery Cooking Vessel Residues

  • A W Stott (a1), R Berstan (a2), P Evershed (a2), R E M Hedges (a3), C Bronk Ramsey (a3) and M J Humm (a3)...

Abstract

We have developed and demonstrated a practical methodology for dating specific compounds (and octade-canoic or stearic acid—C18:0—in particular) from the lipid material surviving in archaeological cooking pots. Such compounds may be extracted from about 10 g of cooking potsherd, and, after derivatization, can be purified by gas chromatography. To obtain sufficient material for precise dating repetitive, accumulating, GC separation is necessary. Throughout the 6000-year period studied, and over a variety of site environments within England, dates on C18:0 show no apparent systematic error, but do have a greater variability than can be explained by the errors due to the separation chemistry and measurement process alone. This variability is as yet unexplained. Dates on C16:0 show greater variability and a systematic error of approximately 100-150 years too young, and it is possible that this is due to contamination from the burial environment. Further work should clarify this.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Corresponding author. Email: robert.hedges@rlaha.ox.ac.uk.

References

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Radiocarbon Dating of Single Compounds Isolated from Pottery Cooking Vessel Residues

  • A W Stott (a1), R Berstan (a2), P Evershed (a2), R E M Hedges (a3), C Bronk Ramsey (a3) and M J Humm (a3)...

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