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The IntCal family of radiocarbon (14C) calibration curves is based on research spanning more than three decades. The IntCal group have collated the 14C and calendar age data (mostly derived from primary publications with other types of data and meta-data) and, since 2010, made them available for other sorts of analysis through an open-access database. This has ensured transparency in terms of the data used in the construction of the ratified calibration curves. As the IntCal database expands, work is underway to facilitate best practice for new data submissions, make more of the associated metadata available in a structured form, and help those wishing to process the data with programming languages such as R, Python, and MATLAB. The data and metadata are complex because of the range of different types of archives. A restructured interface, based on the “IntChron” open-access data model, includes tools which allow the data to be plotted and compared without the need for export. The intention is to include complementary information which can be used alongside the main 14C series to provide new insights into the global carbon cycle, as well as facilitating access to the data for other research applications. Overall, this work aims to streamline the generation of new calibration curves.
Applications of machine learning technologies are becoming ubiquitous in many sectors and their impacts, both positive and negative, are widely reported. As a result, there is substantial interest from the engineering community to integrate machine learning technologies into design workflows with a view to improving the performance of the product development process. In essence, machine learning technologies are thought to have the potential to underpin future generations of data-enabled engineering design system that will deliver radical improvements to product development and so organisational performance. In this paper we report learning from experiments where we applied machine learning to two shape-based design challenges: in a given collection of designed shapes, clustering (i) visually similar shapes and (ii) shapes that are likely to be manufactured using the same primary process. Both challenges were identified with our industry partners and are embodied in a design case study. We report early results and conclude with issues for design descriptions that need to be addressed if the full potential of machine learning is to be realised in engineering design.
Radiocarbon (14C) dating by liquid scintillation (LS) spectroscopy (also known as LS counting or LSC) provides an alternate method of 14C analysis where accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) analysis is less desirable. The past, present, and future applications of the method are discussed.
According to the classical chronology of the Inca State, the ascension to power of Pachacuti Inca took place around AD 1438 and the construction of Machu Picchu began by AD 1450–1460. However, the improvement in the accuracy of radiocarbon (14C) dating resulting from the application of Bayesian analysis has changed our view of the historical chronology. This new research raises questions about our understanding of the cultural development of the Machu Picchu area, in the light of the new proposed chronological scheme. This paper presents a set of 11 new 14C dates, derived from AMS, from the sites of Llaqta of Machu Picchu, Chachabamba, and Choqesuysuy. The latter two sites are situated within the Machu Picchu National Archaeological Park (Arqueología del Santuario Histórico Nacional y Sitio Patrimonio Mundial de Machu Picchu) and have been interpreted as being part of the contemporary Late Horizon Inca landscape. The new 14C ages are modeled using Bayesian inference and present a revised dating framework for these sites and their chronological relationship with Llaqta of Machu Picchu.
Radiocarbon (14C) ages cannot provide absolutely dated chronologies for archaeological or paleoenvironmental studies directly but must be converted to calendar age equivalents using a calibration curve compensating for fluctuations in atmospheric 14C concentration. Although calibration curves are constructed from independently dated archives, they invariably require revision as new data become available and our understanding of the Earth system improves. In this volume the international 14C calibration curves for both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, as well as for the ocean surface layer, have been updated to include a wealth of new data and extended to 55,000 cal BP. Based on tree rings, IntCal20 now extends as a fully atmospheric record to ca. 13,900 cal BP. For the older part of the timescale, IntCal20 comprises statistically integrated evidence from floating tree-ring chronologies, lacustrine and marine sediments, speleothems, and corals. We utilized improved evaluation of the timescales and location variable 14C offsets from the atmosphere (reservoir age, dead carbon fraction) for each dataset. New statistical methods have refined the structure of the calibration curves while maintaining a robust treatment of uncertainties in the 14C ages, the calendar ages and other corrections. The inclusion of modeled marine reservoir ages derived from a three-dimensional ocean circulation model has allowed us to apply more appropriate reservoir corrections to the marine 14C data rather than the previous use of constant regional offsets from the atmosphere. Here we provide an overview of the new and revised datasets and the associated methods used for the construction of the IntCal20 curve and explore potential regional offsets for tree-ring data. We discuss the main differences with respect to the previous calibration curve, IntCal13, and some of the implications for archaeology and geosciences ranging from the recent past to the time of the extinction of the Neanderthals.
Early researchers of radiocarbon levels in Southern Hemisphere tree rings identified a variable North-South hemispheric offset, necessitating construction of a separate radiocarbon calibration curve for the South. We present here SHCal20, a revised calibration curve from 0–55,000 cal BP, based upon SHCal13 and fortified by the addition of 14 new tree-ring data sets in the 2140–0, 3520–3453, 3608–3590 and 13,140–11,375 cal BP time intervals. We detail the statistical approaches used for curve construction and present recommendations for the use of the Northern Hemisphere curve (IntCal20), the Southern Hemisphere curve (SHCal20) and suggest where application of an equal mixture of the curves might be more appropriate. Using our Bayesian spline with errors-in-variables methodology, and based upon a comparison of Southern Hemisphere tree-ring data compared with contemporaneous Northern Hemisphere data, we estimate the mean Southern Hemisphere offset to be 36 ± 27 14C yrs older.
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.
This research investigates two factors influencing the ability of tree-ring data to provide accurate 14C calibration information: the fitness and rigor of the statistical model used to combine the data into a curve; and the accuracy, precision and reproducibility of the component 14C data sets. It presents a new Bayesian spline method for calibration curve construction and tests it on extant and new Southern Hemisphere (SH) data sets (also examining their dendrochronology and pretreatment) for the post-Little Ice Age (LIA) interval AD 1500–1950. The new method of construction allows calculation of component data offsets, permitting identification of laboratory and geographic biases. Application of the new method to the 10 suitable SH 14C data sets suggests that individual offset ranges for component data sets appear to be in the region of ± 10 yr. Data sets with individual offsets larger than this need to be carefully assessed before selection for calibration purposes. We identify a potential geographical offset associated with the Southern Ocean (high latitude) Campbell Island data. We test the new methodology for wiggle-matching short tree-ring sequences and use an OxCal simulation to assess the likely precision obtainable by wiggle-matching in the post-LIA interval.
Tephra layers from 11 sediment cores were examined from a series of closely spaced lake and peat sites, which form an arc around the andesitic stratovolcano Mt. Taranaki, North Island, New Zealand. A new high-resolution composite tephra-deposition record was built, encompassing at least 228 tephra-producing eruptions over the last 30 cal ka BP and providing a basis for understanding variations in magnitude and frequency of explosive volcanism at a typical andesitic volcano. Intersite correlation and geochemical fingerprinting of almost all tephra layers was achieved using electron microprobe–determined titanomagnetite phenocryst and volcanic glass shard compositions, in conjunction with precise age determination of the tephra layers based on continuous down-core radiocarbon dating. Compositional variation within these data allowed the overall eruption record to be divided into six individual tephra sequences. This geochemical/stratigraphic division provides a broad basis for widening correlation to incomplete tephra sequences, with confident correlations to specific, distal Taranaki-derived tephra layers found as far as 270 km from the volcano. Furthermore, this tephrostratigraphical record is one of the most continuous and detailed for an andesitic stratovolcano. It suggests two general patterns of magmatic evolution, characterized by intricate geochemical variations indicating a complex storage and plumbing system beneath the volcano.
The Last Glacial–Interglacial Transition (LGIT; 15,000–11,000 cal BP) was characterized by complex spatiotemporal patterns of climate change, with numerous studies requiring accurate chronological control to decipher leads from lags in global paleoclimatic, paleoenvironmental, and archaeological records. However, close scrutiny of the few available tree-ring chronologies and radiocarbon-dated sequences composing the IntCal13 14C calibration curve indicates significant weakness in 14C calibration across key periods of the LGIT. Here, we present a decadally resolved atmospheric 14C record derived from New Zealand kauri spanning the Lateglacial from ~13,100–11,365 cal BP. Two floating kauri 14C time series, curve-matched to IntCal13, serve as a 14C backbone through the Younger Dryas. The floating Northern Hemisphere (NH) 14C data sets derived from the YD-B and Central European Lateglacial Master tree-ring series are matched against the new kauri data, forming a robust NH 14C time series to ~14,200 cal BP. Our results show that IntCal13 is questionable from ~12,200–11,900 cal BP and the ~10,400 BP 14C plateau is approximately 5 decades too short. The new kauri record and repositioned NH pine 14C series offer a refinement of the international 14C calibration curves IntCal13 and SHCal13, providing increased confidence in the correlation of global paleorecords.
The IntCal09 and Marine09 radiocarbon calibration curves have been revised utilizing newly available and updated data sets from 14C measurements on tree rings, plant macrofossils, speleothems, corals, and foraminifera. The calibration curves were derived from the data using the random walk model (RWM) used to generate IntCal09 and Marine09, which has been revised to account for additional uncertainties and error structures. The new curves were ratified at the 21st International Radiocarbon conference in July 2012 and are available as Supplemental Material at www.radiocarbon.org. The database can be accessed at http://intcal.qub.ac.uk/intcal13/.
Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (CAMS) Tasmanian Huon pine (Lagarostrobos franklinii) decadal measurements for the interval AD 745–855 suggest a mean interhemispheric radiocarbon offset (20 ± 5 yr), which is considerably lower than the previously reported mean interhemispheric offset for the last 2 millennia (44 ± 17 yr). However, comparable University of Waikato (Wk) New Zealand kauri (Agathis australis) measurements show significantly higher values (56 ± 6 yr), suggesting the possibility of a temporary geographic (intrahemispheric) offset between Tasmania, Australia, and Northland, New Zealand, during at least 1 common time interval. Here, we report 9 new Wk Tasmanian Huon pine measurements from the decades showing the largest Huon/kauri difference. We show statistically indistinguishable Wk Huon and Wk kauri 14C ages, thus dispelling the suggestion of a 14C geographic offset between Tasmania and Northland.
Wc describe here the New Zealand kauri (Agathis australis) Younger Dryas (YD) research project, which aims to undertake Δ14C analysis of ∼140 decadal floating wood samples spanning the time interval ∼13.1–11.7 kyr cal BP. We report 14C intercomparison measurements being undertaken by the carbon dating laboratories at University of Waikato (Wk), University of California at Irvine (UCI), and University of Oxford (OxA). The Wk, UCI, and OxA laboratories show very good agreement with an interlaboratory comparison of 12 successive decadal kauri samples (average offsets from consensus values of –7 to +4 14C yr). A University of Waikato/University of Heidelberg (HD) intercomparison involving measurement of the YD-age Swiss larch tree Ollon505, shows a HD/Wk offset of ∼10–20 14C yr (HD younger), and strong evidence that the positioning of the Ollon505 series is incorrect, with a recommendation that the 14C analyses be removed from the IntCal calibration database.
The Southern Hemisphere SHCal04 radiocarbon calibration curve has been updated with the addition of new data sets extending measurements to 2145 cal BP and including the ANSTO Younger Dryas Huon pine data set. Outside the range of measured data, the curve is based upon the ern Hemisphere data sets as presented in IntCal13, with an interhemispheric offset averaging 43 ± 23 yr modeled by an autoregressive process to represent the short-term correlations in the offset.
High-quality data from appropriate archives are needed for the continuing improvement of radiocarbon calibration curves. We discuss here the basic assumptions behind 14C dating that necessitate calibration and the relative strengths and weaknesses of archives from which calibration data are obtained. We also highlight the procedures, problems, and uncertainties involved in determining atmospheric and surface ocean 14C/12C in these archives, including a discussion of the various methods used to derive an independent absolute timescale and uncertainty. The types of data required for the current IntCal database and calibration curve model are tabulated with examples.
The best means for correcting Southern Hemisphere (SH) radiocarbon measurements, which are significantly influenced by temporal variations in the interhemispheric offset, is by the construction of a SH-specific calibration curve from dendrochronologically dated wood. We present here decadal 14C measurements on dendrochronologically secure New Zealand kauri (Agathis australis), covering the period 195 BC–AD 995, extending the range of calibration measurements from New Zealand tree rings to more than 2 millennia.
Recently published Tasmanian huon pine (Lagarostrobos franklinii) data for the interval 165 BC to AD 1095 measured at the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (CAMS) have underestimated standard errors, which need to be re-assessed before the data can be considered for a Southern Hemisphere calibration curve update. The CAMS huon data, unlike the Waikato kauri data presented here, show a significant reduction in the SH offset for the interval AD 775–855. Although these data points are being checked, it is unlikely this represents a temporal geographic location-dependent offset. With re-assessed errors, the huon data set from 165 BC to AD 995 closely matches the new kauri data, with the combined data sets producing a mean interhemispheric offset with IntCal09 of 44 ± 17 yr for the time interval 195 BC–AD 1845. This SH offset is lower than the modeled offset of 55–58 yr used in the construction of SHCal04, and we recommend the lower value be used in future SHCal updates. Although there is an apparent increase in higher frequency events in the SH offset (NZ kauri plus Tasmanian huon) from 200 BC–AD 1000, the reason for this remains unclear.
Past measurements of the radiocarbon interhemispheric offset have been restricted to relatively young samples because of a lack of older dendrochronologically secure Southern Hemisphere tree-ring chronologies. The Southern Hemisphere calibration data set SHCal04 earlier than AD 950 utilizes a variable interhemispheric offset derived from measured 2nd millennium AD Southern Hemisphere/Northern Hemisphere sample pairs with the assumption of stable Holocene ocean/atmosphere interactions. This study extends the range of measured interhemispheric offset values with 20 decadal New Zealand kauri and Irish oak sample pairs from 3 selected time intervals in the 1st millennium AD and is part of a larger program to obtain high-precision Southern Hemisphere 14C data continuously back to 200 BC. We found an average interhemispheric offset of 35 ± 6 yr, which although consistent with previously published 2nd millennium AD measurements, is lower than the offset of 55–58 yr utilized in SHCal04. We concur with McCormac et al. (2008) that the IntCal04 measurement for AD 775 may indeed be slightly too old but also suggest the McCormac results appear excessively young for the interval AD 755–785. In addition, we raise the issue of laboratory bias and calibration errors, and encourage all laboratories to check their consistency with appropriate calibration curves and invest more effort into improving the accuracy of those curves.
While an interhemispheric offset in atmospheric radiocarbon levels from AD 1950–950 is now well established, its existence earlier in the Holocene is less clear, with some studies reporting globally uniform 14C levels while others finding Southern Hemisphere samples older by a few decades. In this paper, we present a method for wiggle-matching Southern Hemisphere data sets against Northern Hemisphere curves, using the Bayesian calibration program OxCal 4.1 with the Reservoir Offset function accommodating a potential interhemispheric offset. The accuracy and robustness of this approach is confirmed by wiggle-matching known-calendar age sequences of the Southern Hemisphere calibration curve SHCal04 against the Northern Hemisphere curve IntCal04. We also show that 5 of 9 Holocene Southern Hemisphere data sets are capable of yielding reliable offset information. Those data sets that are accurate and precise show that interhemispheric offset levels in the Early Holocene are similar to modern levels, confirming SHCal04 as the curve of choice for calibrating Southern Hemisphere samples.
This paper presents 31 new ΔR results of known-age, pre-AD 1950 shells from the South Pacific subtropical gyre region, spanning from the Tuamotu Archipelago in the east to New Caledonia in the west. This doubles the number of available ΔR values for the Oceania region. These values indicate that the regional offset (ΔR) from the modeled radiocarbon marine age has remained relatively constant over the last 100 yr prior to 1950. Variation from the norm can be attributed to various influences including localized upwelling around islands, the presence of a hardwater effect, direct ingestion of old carbon by the live shellfish, or enhanced exchange with atmospheric CO2 as a consequence of photosynthetic activity or increased aeration.