Refining the Hallstatt plateau: Short-term 14C variability and small scale offsets in 50 consecutive tree-rings from south west Scotland dendro-dated to 410-460 BC

Jacobsson, P., Hamilton, W. D. , Cook, G., Crone, A., Dunbar, E. , Kinch, H. , Naysmith, P., Tripney, B. and Xu, S. (2018) Refining the Hallstatt plateau: Short-term 14C variability and small scale offsets in 50 consecutive tree-rings from south west Scotland dendro-dated to 410-460 BC. Radiocarbon, 60(1), pp. 219-237. (doi:10.1017/RDC.2017.90)

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Abstract

Radiocarbon (14C) wiggle-match dating is a technique with a substantial potential to improve the precision of dating timbers in situations where dendrochronology is not tenable. However, one of the key reasons why obtaining a dendrochronological determination might be difficult is the short-lived nature of timbers on a range of archaeological sites, something that also affects the efficiency of the wiggle-match dating technique. Combined with the potential for high expense that the technique presents, it is paramount that wiggle-match dating research design has a good empirical basis. To this end we dated 50 consecutive, individual rings from a timber that grew during the Hallstatt radiocarbon calibration plateau (ca. 750–400 cal BC) in southwest Scotland. The results indicate that (1) the precision and accuracy of wiggle-match dates carried out on short-lived sequences during the Hallstatt plateau may suffer due to insufficient resolution of the calibration data, (2) sampling time-frames roughly equivalent to the underpinning calibration data are recommended (for the period in question this means decadal blocks), and (3) short-lived sequences are at risk of losing accuracy if the actual past trend of radiocarbon diverges from the mean of the radiocarbon calibration curve.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Tripney, Dr Brian and Cook, Professor Gordon and Naysmith, Mr Philip and Dunbar, Dr Elaine and Xu, Dr Sheng and Hamilton, Dr William and Jacobsson, Dr Piotr and Kinch, Ms Helen
Authors: Jacobsson, P., Hamilton, W. D., Cook, G., Crone, A., Dunbar, E., Kinch, H., Naysmith, P., Tripney, B., and Xu, S.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Radiocarbon
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:0033-8222
ISSN (Online):1945-5755
Published Online:19 September 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in Radiocarbon 60(1): 219-237
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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