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Assessment of Interlaboratory Pretreatment Protocols by Radiocarbon Dating an Elk Bone Found Below Laacher See Tephra at Miesenheim IV (Rhineland, Germany)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 February 2016

Stuart J Fiedel
Affiliation:
Louis Berger Group, Richmond, Virginia, USA
John R Southon
Affiliation:
Keck Carbon Cycle AMS Laboratory, University of California-Irvine, Irvine, California, USA
R E Taylor
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, University of California-Riverside, Riverside, California, USA; also: Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, University of California-Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA
Yaroslav V Kuzmin
Affiliation:
Institute of Geology & Mineralogy, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk, Russia
Martin Street
Affiliation:
MONREPOS Archaeological Research Centre and Museum for Human Behavioural Evolution, RGZM, Schloß Monrepos, D-56567 Neuwied, Germany
Thomas F G Higham
Affiliation:
Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
Johannes van der Plicht
Affiliation:
Centre for Isotope Research, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands; also: Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University, Leiden, the Netherlands
Marie-Josée Nadeau
Affiliation:
Leibniz-Labor, Christian-Albrechts University, Kiel, Germany
Shweta Nalawade-Chavan
Affiliation:
Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Four accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) facilities undertook an interlaboratory exercise designed to examine the reliability and reproducibility of radiocarbon determinations on bone by dating a sample of elk (Alces alces) from Miesenheim IV. This specimen is derived from a secure geological context directly beneath the Laacher See tephra, which provides a precise terminus ante quern of ∼11,060 yr BP (∼13,050 cal yr BP). Regrettably, the results of the intercomparison exercise were complicated by evident contamination of the bone sample by exogenous organic material. This contaminant, probably humic acid, resulted in a wide span of ages (10,010 ± 30 to 11,100 ± 45 BP). The only method that yielded an accurate determination, consistent with the age of the tephra, was Oxford's single amino acid technique, which targets hydroxyproline. An acid hydrolysis step seems to have been crucial in breaking the bonds between the bone collagen and the contaminant.

Type
Radiocarbon Dating and the Paleolithic
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona 

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References

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Assessment of Interlaboratory Pretreatment Protocols by Radiocarbon Dating an Elk Bone Found Below Laacher See Tephra at Miesenheim IV (Rhineland, Germany)
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