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Article contents

AMS Dates from Two Archaeological Sites of Korea: Blind Tests

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 January 2016

Jangsuk Kim*
Affiliation:
Department of Archaeology and Art History, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, South Korea.
David K Wright
Affiliation:
Department of Archaeology and Art History, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, South Korea.
Youngseon Lee
Affiliation:
Department of Statistics, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, South Korea.
Jaeyong Lee
Affiliation:
Department of Statistics, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, South Korea.
Seonho Choi
Affiliation:
Department of Physics, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, South Korea.
Junkyu Kim
Affiliation:
Department of Archaeology and Art History, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, South Korea.
Sung-Mo Ahn
Affiliation:
Department of Archaeology and Art History, Wonkwang University, Iksan 570-749, South Korea.
Jongtaik Choi
Affiliation:
Department of Archaeology and Art History, Korea University, Sejong 339-700, South Korea.
Chuntaek Seong
Affiliation:
Department of History, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 130-791, South Korea.
Chang Ho Hyun
Affiliation:
Division of Science Education, Daegu University, Kyeongsan 712-714, South Korea.
Jaehoon Hwang
Affiliation:
Department of Archaeology and Art History, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, South Korea.
Hyemin Yang
Affiliation:
Department of History, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 130-791, South Korea.
Jiwon Yang
Affiliation:
Department of Archaeology and Art History, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, South Korea.
*
*Corresponding author. Email: jangsuk@snu.ac.kr.

Abstract

In interpreting radiocarbon dating results, it is important that archaeologists distinguish uncertainties derived from random errors and those from systematic errors, because the two must be dealt with in different ways. One of the problems that archaeologists face in practice, however, is that when receiving dating results from laboratories, they are rarely able to critically assess whether differences between multiple 14C dates of materials are caused by random or systematic errors. In this study, blind tests were carried out to check four possible sources of errors in dating results: repeatability of results generated under identical field and laboratory conditions, differences in results generated from the same sample given to the same laboratory submitted at different times, interlaboratory differences of results generated from the same sample, and differences in the results generated between inner and outer rings of wood. Five charred wood samples, collected from the Namgye settlement and Hongreyonbong fortress, South Korea, were divided into 80 subsamples and submitted to five internationally recognized 14C laboratories on a blind basis twice within a 2-month interval. The results are generally in good statistical accordance and present acceptable errors at an archaeological scale. However, one laboratory showed a statistically significant variance in ages between batches for all samples and sites. Calculation of the Bayesian partial posterior predictive p value and chi-squared tests rejected the null hypothesis that the errors randomly occurred, although the source of the error is not specifically known. Our experiment suggests that it is necessary for users of 14C dating to establish an organized strategy for dating sites before submitting samples to laboratories in order to avoid possible systematic errors.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2016 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona 

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