Recent developments in calibration for archaeological and environmental samples

van der Plicht, J., Bronk Ramsey, C., Heaton, T.J., Scott, E.M. and Talamo, S. (2020) Recent developments in calibration for archaeological and environmental samples. Radiocarbon, 62(4), pp. 1095-1117. (doi: 10.1017/RDC.2020.22)

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The curves recommended for calibrating radiocarbon (14C) dates into absolute dates have been updated. For calibrating atmospheric samples from the Northern Hemisphere, the new curve is called IntCal20. This is accompanied by associated curves SHCal20 for the Southern Hemisphere, and Marine20 for marine samples. In this “companion article” we discuss advances and developments that have led to improvements in the updated curves and highlight some issues of relevance for the general readership. In particular the dendrochronological based part of the curve has seen a significant increase in data, with single-year resolution for certain time ranges, extending back to 13,910 calBP. Beyond the tree rings, the new curve is based upon an updated combination of marine corals, speleothems, macrofossils, and varved sediments and now reaches back to 55,000 calBP. Alongside these data advances, we have developed a new, bespoke statistical curve construction methodology to allow better incorporation of the diverse constituent records and produce a more robust curve with uncertainties. Combined, these data and methodological advances offer the potential for significant new insight into our past. We discuss some implications for the user, such as the dating of the Santorini eruption and also some consequences of the new curve for Paleolithic archaeology.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:CBR is funded by NERC as part of their 14C facility. TJH is funded by a Leverhulme Trust Fellowship RF-2019-140\9, “Improving the Measurement of Time Using Radiocarbon”. ST is funded by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme (grant agreement No. 803147-RESOLUTION). Discussions with M.W. Dee have been instrumental.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Scott, Professor Marian
Authors: van der Plicht, J., Bronk Ramsey, C., Heaton, T.J., Scott, E.M., and Talamo, S.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Mathematics and Statistics > Statistics
Journal Name:Radiocarbon
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN (Online):1945-5755
Published Online:21 April 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona
First Published:First published in Radiocarbon 62(4): 1095-1117
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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