AMS Radiocarbon Dating of Paleolithic-Aged Charcoal from Europe and the Mediterranean Rim Using ABOx-SC

F Brock, T F G Higham
2009 Radiocarbon: An International Journal of Cosmogenic Isotope Research  
Radiocarbon dating of charcoal >25–30 kyr can be problematic due to contamination from exogeneous carbon and the variable effectiveness of14C pretreatments to remove it. Bird et al. (1999) developed the ABOx-SC (acid-base-oxidation-stepped combustion) method for removing contaminants from older charcoal samples, which involves a harsher treatment than traditional acid-base-acid (ABA) pretreatments. This method has been shown to considerably improve the reliability of dating old charcoal from
more » ... g old charcoal from sites in Australia, South Africa, Brazil, and Malaysia (Bird et al. 1999, 2003; Turney et al. 2001; Santos et al. 2003; Higham et al. 2009a). Here, we apply the technique to material from 5 Paleolithic sites from Europe and the Mediterranean Rim. For 2 of the sites (Kebara Cave, Israel and Taramsa Hill, Egypt), the ABOx-SC and ABA methods produced similar dates. However, in the case of 1 site, the Grotta di Fumane in Italy, ABOx-SC pretreatment produced significantly older results from those of ABA methods, requiring substantial reinterpretation of the archaeological sequence of the site. The rigorous nature of the technique resulted in a high failure rate for sample pretreatment, and insufficient material survived the pretreatment for dating from Grotte des Pigeons, Morocco or Gorham's Cave, Gibraltar.
doi:10.1017/s0033822200056149 fatcat:tkgfdjlutjdvpd2z7obi2bqn2i