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In this study, we examined how land use and urbanization changes in adjacent areas affected biological productivity and carbon cycling in a lake ecosystem over 100 years and how these changes are reflected in carbon isotope variations. We performed radiocarbon (14C) activity and stable carbon isotope ratio analysis in two organic fractions: humin and humic acids of lake sediment. Additionally, we performed pigment and diatom analysis and determined the carbonate and organic matter (OM) content in sediments. Over the last century, the estimated 14C reservoir age in both sediment organic fractions varied from 1136 ± 112 yr to 5733 ± 122 yr. The increase in the reservoir age by 1175 ± 111 yr was related with higher inputs of pre-aged organic carbon and 14C depleted hard water due to the opening of the channel connecting two lakes. Nuclear weapons tests caused an increase in the reservoir age of up to 5421 ± 135 yr and 5733 ± 122 yr in humin and humic acids, respectively. 13C values in the humic acid fraction showed a tendency to decrease, depending on the content of autochthonous versus allochthonous OM in sediments, while changes in the sources of OM had a minor impact on the stable carbon isotope composition in the humin fraction.
The radiocarbon (14C) content of simultaneously deposited substrates in lacustrine archives may differ due to reservoir and detrital effects, complicating the development of age models and interpretation of proxy records. Multi-substrate 14C studies quantifying these effects remain rare, however, particularly for large, terminal lake systems, which are excellent recorders of regional hydroclimate change. We report 14C ages of carbonates, brine shrimp cysts, algal mat biomass, total organic carbon (TOC), terrestrial macrofossils, and n-alkane biomarkers from Holocene sediments of the Great Salt Lake (GSL), Utah. 14C ages for co-deposited aquatic organic substrates are generally consistent, with small offsets that may reflect variable terrestrial organic matter inputs to the system. Carbonates and long-chain n-alkanes derived from vascular plants, however, are ∼1000–4000 14C years older than other substrates, reflecting deposition of pre-aged detrital materials. All lacustrine substrates are 14C-depleted compared to terrestrial macrofossils, suggesting that the reservoir age of the GSL was > 1200 years throughout most of the Holocene, far greater than the modern reservoir age of the lake (∼300 years). These results suggest good potential for multi-substrate paleoenvironmental reconstruction from Holocene GSL sediments but point to limitations including reservoir-induced uncertainty in 14C chronologies and attenuation and time-shifting of some proxy signals due to detrital effects.
Given the difficulty in obtaining robust chronologies from tree rings in tropical regions, the search for appropriate species is very important. Both dendrochronology and radiocarbon (14C) measurements are required to validate the use of any specific tree. Some species have proved to be reliable for representing atmospheric 14C concentration over time, such as Cedrela fissilis and Araucaria angustifolia. However, not only the species have to be validated, but also different climatic conditions may result in different growth patterns for the same species. In this work, we study the annual growth rings of Cedrela fissilis from a dry tropical forest patch typical of a highly seasonal climate in central Brazil. 14C accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) was used to compare the isotopic ratios of tree rings with the 14C concentrations in the atmosphere during the nuclear tests based on curve Bomb13SH 1-2. Results are similar to the bomb peak curve within the period from 1958 to 1980 AD and serve as a crucial test for the cross-dating analyses using the skeleton plot technique.
Tombs and cairns present a dating challenge when the human remains are unstratified, incomplete and dispersed. By considering the distribution of time intervals between deaths as a possible a priori condition of multiple burials of select groups, a Bayesian model is suggested that may constrain the uncertainty date range of the group. The method may also address the wide uncertainties seen in radiocarbon calibration on a calibration curve plateau. The mathematical justification for the choice of Log Normal intervals, between death events, is first presented, followed by worked examples that compare the treatment of groups of 22 dates using Phase then Sequence with interval gaps. Finally, scenarios of potential Select Groups are examined, to demonstrate the efficacy of this alternative heuristic model to current model treatments.
The paper presents radiocarbon (14C) dates of samples collected from the Bronze Age cultural strata (VI–II) excavated within Sector P, Tell Arbid, Khabur Triangle, northern Mesopotamia. These strata contain objects (remains of a caravanserai, pits, graves, pottery kilns, and multi-phase houses) representing the periods of Early Jezirah 4-5, and Old Jezirah I-II. 14C dating of these strata was especially important because of a clearly visible period of abandonment of the area at the onset of 2nd millennium BC, recorded on all Khabur Triangle sites studied so far, and because of the questionable reliability of the chronology derived from scarce historical sources. Of the 29 samples of cereal grains, 9 appeared to contain residual material, while Bayesian-analyzed 14C ages of the remaining 20 allowed us to say that, at the turn of the 3rd millennium BC, Tell Arbid was abandoned later than other sites in the area, and that it was occupied over a distinctly longer period during the early 2nd millennium.
The development and subsistence strategies adopted in ancient settlements are crucial to the understanding of long-term human–environmental interaction in the past. Here, we reassess the chronology of the ancient walled settlement of Sanjiao in the Hexi Corridor in northwestern China through accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon (AMS 14C) dating and explore the subsistence of the settlers inside through the identification of carbonized seeds and charcoal. In addition, high-resolution paleoclimate records in the Hexi Corridor and nearby regions are employed to explore the reason for the construction of Sanjiao. Our results show that Sanjiao was built around 828 cal BC and remained inhabited through 384–116 cal BC. This indicates Sanjiao is the earliest known walled settlement in the Hexi Corridor. Ancient people at Sanjiao consumed crops such as barley, broomcorn millet, and foxtail millet, and used wood from Tamarix chinensis, Tamarix, Salix, Picea, Hippophae, Betulaceae, and Poaceae as fuel. The construction date of Sanjiao correlates with climate deterioration and social upheavals in the Hexi Corridor, potentially suggesting a defensive purpose for the site.
Biological studies on Mesolithic human remains from the Polish region are a rare subject of scientific research due to the limited number of these relics and their poor state of preservation. From the project titled “Old material with new methods: Using the latest bio-chemical analysis in studies of Mesolithic human remains from the Polish areas,” the radiocarbon (14C) dating of bones using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) has been performed. For these experiments, the gelatin was extracted from bones, and its quality evaluated by the C/Nat ratio and the stable isotope composition of both carbon and nitrogen. The 14C results have been obtained for 11 bone samples from 5 sites, and throughout this work the results of two preparation methods are compared. The simple gelatin extraction provided material with unsatisfactory collagen quality indicators, while additional alkali treatment allowed us to obtain much more reliable, and generally older, results. Additionally, analysis on VIRI/SIRI samples were conducted to test the developed method. Only seven of the investigated bone samples yielded ages within Mesolithic period, and the most reliable dates range from 5800 to 6800 cal BC. One sample was not datable, and two were shown to be much younger than expected.
Precise radiocarbon (14C) dating of sedimentary sequences is important for developing robust chronologies of environmental change, but sampling of suitable components can be challenging in highly dynamic landscapes. Here we investigate radiocarbon determinations of different peat size fractions from six peat sites, representing a range of geomorphological contexts on the South Atlantic subantarctic islands of the Falklands and South Georgia. To investigate the most suitable fraction for dating, 112 measurements were obtained from three components within selected horizons: a fine fraction <0.2 mm, a coarse fraction >0.2 mm, and bulk material. We find site selection is critical, with locations surrounded by high-ground and/or relatively slowly accumulating sites more susceptible to the translocation of older carbon. Importantly, in locations with reduced potential for redeposition of material, our results show that there is no significant or systematic difference between ages derived from bulk material, fine or coarse (plant macrofossil) material, providing confidence in the resulting age model. Crucially, in areas comprising complex terrain with extreme relief, we recommend dating macrofossils or bulk carbon rather than a fine fraction, or employing comprehensive dating of multiple sedimentary fractions to determine the most reliable fraction(s) for developing a robust chronological framework.
Radiocarbon (14C) analysis was performed on Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) tree rings from Koriyama, Fukushima prefecture. Our primary aim was to detect any 14C release from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant accident on 11 March 2011. We also completed and assessed the 14C level in Japanese tree rings for the period of 1990–2014 because of the lack of environmental 14C results in the Japanese island that time. For this reason, we used a trajectory model to investigate the air mass forward and backward trajectories at the area of the power plant and sampling site. The modeling data show that the air masses mainly moved to the Pacific Ocean, both during March 2011 and during the growing season (March–September). During the period 1990–2014 there was no significant 14C excess in any of the samples, but there was a detectable Suess effect in almost every tree ring sample. The average fossil contribution was 0.83 ± 0.01% and the calculated anthropogenic component ratio, the 14C excess varied between +0.5 and –1.6%. The Δ14C value decreased from 150.0‰ to 9.5‰ from 1990–2014, which follows the decline of the 14C bomb peak, in addition to any detectable Suess effect.
The archaeological site of Saruq al-Hadid, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, presents a long sequence of persistent temporary human occupation on the northern edge of the Rub’ al-Khali desert. The site is located in active dune fields, and evidence for human activity is stratified within a deep sequence of natural dune deposits that reflect complex taphonomic processes of deposition, erosion and reworking. This study presents the results of a program of radiocarbon (14C) and thermoluminescence dating on deposits from Saruq al-Hadid, allied with studies of material remains, which are amalgamated with the results of earlier absolute dating studies provide a robust chronology for the use of the site from the Bronze Age to the Islamic period. The results of the dating program allow the various expressions of human activity at the site—ranging from subsistence activities such as hunting and herding, to multi-community ritual activities and large scale metallurgical extraction—to be better situated chronologically, and thus in relation to current debates regarding the development of late prehistoric and early historic societies in southeastern Arabia.
Precise manometric pressure, volume, and temperature (P-V-T) measurements of carbon in samples, standards, and blanks are critical for radiocarbon studies. While P and T uncertainties depend on instrument choice and environmental stability, V uncertainties depend on their method of measurement and are often overlooked. We used numerical simulations and error propagation to find optimum procedures for measuring “cold-finger” volumes equipped with capacitance diaphragm gauges (CDGs) by two common application of Boyle’s Law: cryogenic transfers and serial gas expansions with a reference flask of known volume. Minimum relative uncertainties of cold-finger volumes are comparable for these two methods (∼0.002), but the serial gas expansion method is preferred due to its convenience. Serial gas expansions can be performed to high precision by using dry air, an initial pressure ∼76% full-scale (e.g., 760 Torr), and a reference flask with an optimal volume based on preliminary estimates of cold-finger volumes and an empirical power function. The volumes of cold-fingers ≥ 12 cm3 can be determined with minimum achievable relative uncertainties of 0.0021 to 0.0023. This limit translates to minimum achievable relative uncertainties of 0.0026 to 0.0027 for P-V-T measurements of moles of gas simulated here.
Observation of the ion source generated background has been an area of focus during our routine analytical work. It is noted that the results of very-low-ratio samples are dependent upon the particular procedures for measurement using the present-day Cs+ sputter ion sources. When measured without excessive Cs+ fluxes and without interleafing with other higher-ratio samples and references, the accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) sensitivity can be somewhat improved. In some cases, it appears possible to assess old radiocarbon (14C) samples to beyond the long-standing 60 kyr limit. A number of observational studies are made for the sole purpose of minimizing the final contamination to the rare isotopes that is generated within the ion source.
In 2016, a burial chamber hewn into limestone was discovered at Khirbet Aqabet Al Qadi on the northwestern slope of Mount Ebal, 2km north of the city center of Nablus. The floor of the chamber is 3.15 × 2.9 m and the height averages 1.8 m. A movable closure at the entrance consists of a limestone slab. The burial chamber houses four sarcophagi. The aim of this case study is to give information not only on the burial chamber but also, for the first time in the region, on human remains. Stable isotope analysis of a human bone sample enabled us to obtain dietary information on one individual. Due to low collagen content, the sample did not allow precise dating but it can be placed between 50 BC and 50 AD. Systematic illegal excavation and looting at funerary sites in the Nablus area has caused material for potential information to be missing at the site. Nonetheless, the dietary information obtained supports other material finds indicating Mediterranean agricultural use of the land. Our evidence demonstrates that the site dates to between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD.
The Upper Paleolithic open-air site Sungir is located in the central Russian Plain. The blank production of the lithic industry is characterized by parallel reduction with flakes being the main blank type. The tool assemblage has two components: archaic types (Mousterian-like) on the one hand and Upper Paleolithic types on the other. The available data does not allow for a confident determination of the chronological position of the Sungir site, nor does it enable researchers to distinguish different stages of human occupation. The horizontal distribution of the dated samples demonstrates the almost complete absence of radiocarbon (14C) dates for household features identified at the site (fireplaces, fire and ritual pits, large accumulations of bones, etc.). In addition, the vertical distribution of 14C dates in the rather thick cultural layer points to the exposure of the site to solifluction.