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Late Holocene 14C Marine Reservoir Corrections for Hawai'I Derived from U-Series Dated Archaeological Coral

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 July 2016

Marshall I Weisler*
School of Social Science, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland 4072 Australia
Quan Hua
Australia Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), PMB 1, Menai, New South Wales 2234, Australia
Jian-xin Zhao
Radiogenic Isotope Facility, Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland 4072 Australia
Corresponding author. Email:
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The first application of U-series dating and accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) assay of Polynesian archaeological Pocillopora spp. branch corals for deriving a precise local marine reservoir correction (ΔR) is described. Known-age corals were selected that spanned the entire culture-historical sequence for the Hawaiian Islands, thus eliminating the problem of not having known-age dated samples that cover the period of direct relevance to prehistorians; in this case, about AD 700–1800. Dating coral samples from windward and leeward coastlines of Moloka'i Island, with different offshore conditions such as upwelling, currents, wind patterns, coastal topography, and straight or embayed shorelines, provides insights into possible variations of local conditions on the same island—something that has never been attempted. In this regard, there was no spatial variability in ΔR during the 17th century. We report a weighted average ΔR value for Moloka'i Island of 52 ± 25 yr using 12 pair-dated dedicatory branch corals from religious archaeological sites and demonstrate that there is no significant temporal variability in ΔR between about AD 700 to 1800. In combination with 4 selected previously published ΔR values based on pre-bomb known-age marine shells, a revised ΔR of 66 ± 54 yr is established for the Hawaiian Islands. However, future research should examine the archipelago-wide spatial variability in ΔR with the analysis of additional dated archaeological coral samples.

Marine Studies
Copyright © 2009 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona 



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