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We have conducted radiocarbon (14C) dating of Japanese tree rings from 1053 to 921 BCE and 41 BCE to 130 CE. Dating was also performed using oxygen isotope dendrochronology to investigate subtle structures of the calibration curve corresponding to the beginning and the end of the Yayoi period in Japan. These two results followed IntCal20, which included the 14C ages of two Japan-sourced trees. The findings suggest that dating of specimens obtained from areas around the Japanese archipelago may be affected by periodic monsoons from the ocean, an effect that needs further examination.
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.
This study carried out accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon (AMS 14C) measurement of Japanese tree rings dating from the middle to early modern eras to investigate calibration curve fine structure. Tree-ring ages were determined by dendrochronology or δ18O chronology for Japanese trees. 14C ages from the 15th century to the middle of the 17th century followed the IntCal13 calibration curve within measurement error. Different patterns of fluctuations during the latter half of the 17th century to the early the 18th century were observed in different tree samples. In the 19th century, patterns of 14C ages of different samples appeared similar but did not exactly match each other.
Hikobe House is an important cultural property located in Gunma prefecture. It is one of the oldest manor houses in the Kanto region of Japan. The age of the Hikobe House has up to now been uncertain. There are no architectural records or memorandum tags that indicate when the Hikobe House was built. The living room of the Hikobe House has a style of the latter half of the 17th century, while the guest rooms exhibit a style more typical of the 16th century. So, architectural historians did not agree when the house was built. The wooden materials of the Hikobe House (zelkova, cherry tree, and Japanese red pine) are species that are not well suited to dendrochronology. Thus we investigated the materials of the Hikobe House using the radiocarbon (14C) dating method. Using both the 14C wiggle-match dating method on short tree-ring sequences and observations of remodeling traces of the materials, we were able to establish a credible age of Hikobe House as dating from the late 17th century.
The radiocarbon dating method was applied to the study of Japanese traditional wooden buildings. The traditional Japanese architecture studied includes the Main Hall of Banna-ji Temple (Buddhist building), Sekisui-in of Kozan-ji Temple (noble house), Hakogi-ke house (farmhouse), and Kawai-ke house (townhouse). 14C dating proved useful as a research method to better understand the history of these buildings and Japanese architecture as a whole.
The radiocarbon content of Japanese cedars was measured by accelerator mass spectrometry for decadal tree-ring samples from the period of 240 BC to AD 900. Conventional gas counting was also used for part of the samples. The data were compared with the INTCAL98 calibration curve (Stuiver et al. 1998). The results indicate that the difference in atmospheric 14C between Japan and North America or Europe is negligible at this period, less than 18 14C yr using an average of 50 yr. However, in the period of about AD 100 to about AD 200, we cannot exclude the possibility of a deviation of the order of 30 to 40 14C yr to the older ages.
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