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Radiocarbon Wiggle-Matching of Japanese Historical Materials with a Possible Systematic Age Offset

  • Mineo Imamura (a1), Hiromasa Ozaki (a1), Takumi Mitsutani (a2), Etsuko Niu (a3) and Shigeru Itoh (a3)...

Abstract

Progress in radiocarbon accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) techniques enables much more access to wiggle-matching techniques for high-precision 14C dating with relatively low costs than before. Recently, we have applied wiggle-matching for a number of wood samples where dendrochronology is difficult because of various limitations imposed for dendro-dating. In most cases, wiggle-matching gave rather unambiguous calendar ages, but we found that in some cases the calibrated date was very sensitive to a systematic error of the 14C date. Here, we present a wooden artifact from the Ujishigai archaeological site as a case where the highest wiggle-matched date did not agree with the date given by dendrochronology. An age with lower probability agreed with the tree-ring age of AD 389, which marked the beginning of the production of Sue ware (unglazed stoneware) in Japan. We show that systematic errors must be carefully taken into account while interpreting 14C wiggle-matching results, whether they are due to instrumental errors (statistical) or due to a regional offset from the IntCal04 (Reimer et al. 2004) calibration curve.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Corresponding author. Email: imamura@rekihaku.ac.jp

References

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Bronk Ramsey, C. 1995. Radiocarbon calibration and analysis of stratigraphy: the OxCal program. Radiocarbon 37(2):425–30.
Bronk Ramsey, C. 2001. Development of the radiocarbon calibration program. Radiocarbon 43(2A):355–63.
Bronk Ramsey, C, van der Plicht, J, Weninger, B. 2001. ‘Wiggle matching’ radiocarbon dates. Radiocarbon 43(2A):381–9.
Imamura, M. 2007. On the radiocarbon calibration program file, RHC3.2. Bulletin of the National Museum of Japanese History 137. In Japanese.
Kobayashi, K, Niu, E, Itoh, S, Yamagata, H, Lotaidze, Z, Jorjliani, I, Nakamura, K, Fujine, H. 2007. The compact 14C AMS facility of Paleo Labo Co., Ltd., Japan. Nuclear and Instrumental Methods in Physics Research B 259(1):31–5.
Mitsutani, T, Tsugiyama, J. 1999. Wooden artifacts from Kofun-period layers below the Nara palace site and its Dendrochronological dating. Annual Bulletin of Nara National Cultural Properties Research Institute 1999-I. p 89.
National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Nara. 1990. Dendrochronology in Japan. Research report #48 of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Nara.
Ozaki, H, Imamura, M, Matsuzaki, H, Mitsutani, T. 2007. Radiocarbon in 9th to 5th century BC tree-ring samples from the Ouban 1 archaeological site, Hiroshima, Japan. Radiocarbon , these proceedings.
Reimer, PJ, Baillie, MGL, Bard, E, Bayliss, A, Beck, JW, Bertrand, CJH, Blackwell, PG, Buck, CE, Burr, GS, Cutler, KB, Damon, PE, Edwards, RL, Fairbanks, RG, Friedrich, M, Guilderson, TP, Hogg, AG, Hughen, KA, Kromer, B, McCormac, G, Manning, S, Bronk Ramsey, C, Reimer, RW, Remmele, S, Southon, JR, Stuiver, M, Talamo, S, Taylor, FW, van der Plicht, J, Weyhenmeyer, CE. 2004. IntCal04 terrestrial radiocarbon age calibration, 0–26 cal kyr BR Radiocarbon 46(3): 1029–58.
Sakamoto, M, Imamura, M, van der Plicht, J, Mitsutani, T, Sahara, M. 2003. Radiocarbon calibration for Japanese wood samples. Radiocarbon 45(1):81–9.
Sakamoto, M, Kodaira, A, Imamura, M. 2004. An automated AAA preparation system for AMS radiocarbon dating. Nuclear and Instrumental Methods in Physics Research B 223–224:298301.

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