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Article contents

First 14C Results from Archaeological and Forensic Studies at the Vienna Environmental Research Accelerator

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 July 2016

Eva Wild
Affiliation:
Vienna Environmental Research Accelerator, Institut für Radiumforschung und Kernphysik Universität Wien, Währinger Strasse 17, A-1090 Wien, Austria
Robin Golser
Affiliation:
Vienna Environmental Research Accelerator, Institut für Radiumforschung und Kernphysik Universität Wien, Währinger Strasse 17, A-1090 Wien, Austria
Peter Hille
Affiliation:
Vienna Environmental Research Accelerator, Institut für Radiumforschung und Kernphysik Universität Wien, Währinger Strasse 17, A-1090 Wien, Austria
Walter Kutschera
Affiliation:
Vienna Environmental Research Accelerator, Institut für Radiumforschung und Kernphysik Universität Wien, Währinger Strasse 17, A-1090 Wien, Austria
Alfred Priller
Affiliation:
Vienna Environmental Research Accelerator, Institut für Radiumforschung und Kernphysik Universität Wien, Währinger Strasse 17, A-1090 Wien, Austria
Stephan Puchegger
Affiliation:
Vienna Environmental Research Accelerator, Institut für Radiumforschung und Kernphysik Universität Wien, Währinger Strasse 17, A-1090 Wien, Austria
Werner Rom
Affiliation:
Vienna Environmental Research Accelerator, Institut für Radiumforschung und Kernphysik Universität Wien, Währinger Strasse 17, A-1090 Wien, Austria
Peter Steier
Affiliation:
Vienna Environmental Research Accelerator, Institut für Radiumforschung und Kernphysik Universität Wien, Währinger Strasse 17, A-1090 Wien, Austria
Walter Vycudilik
Affiliation:
Institut für Gerichtliche Medizin, Universität Wien, Sensengasse 2, A-1090 Wien, Austria
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Abstract

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14C dating with the new Vienna Environmental Research Accelerator (VERA) began with the age determination of a mummified marmot found in the Austrian Alpine region. Soft tissue and bones of the marmot were used for the investigation. For comparison, bone material from known-age samples was also processed and measured. These exercises showed that 14C dating with VERA is reliable, and since that time various samples from archaeological context have been dated.

We also studied the applicability of the 14C method in forensic sciences to determine the time of death of human individuals. 14C/12C measurements of samples from different organic human material (bone collagen, lipids from bone and bone marrow, hair) were performed and compared with the tropospheric “bomb peak” values to transform the measured ratios into “calibrated ages”. For specific substances with rapid turnover rates, this gives an estimate for the time of death of the individual. In our study, lipids and hair yield reasonable times of death, whereas the collagen fraction from bones, which has a relatively long turnover time, is not suitable for this purpose.

Type
Part 1: Methods
Copyright
Copyright © The American Journal of Science 

References

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