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Luminescence dating indicates radiocarbon age underestimation in late Pleistocene fluvial deposits from eastern England

Briant, Rebecca M. and Bateman, M.D. (2009) Luminescence dating indicates radiocarbon age underestimation in late Pleistocene fluvial deposits from eastern England. Journal of Quaternary Science 24 (8), pp. 916-927. ISSN 0267-8179.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jqs.1258

Abstract

Robust geochronological control is crucial for interpreting and correlating the environmental record from fragmentary terrestrial sequences from the last glacial period. Traditional terrestrial stratigraphies are typically reliant on radiocarbon dating, although estimates of antiquity for samples older than 40 ka may be unreliable. Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating of sediments is an alternative for dating the whole of the last glacial period and also provides the opportunity to independently test radiocarbon based chronologies. This paper presents a set of nine directly comparable paired OSL and accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon ages from multiple sites within Devensian fluvial sediments in lowland Britain and shows that it is possible to obtain robust OSL age estimates throughout this time period. The two techniques agree well for ages younger than ca. 29 14C ka BP (ca. 35 cal. ka BP) but disagree beyond ca. 35 14C ka BP (ca. 40 cal. ka BP). This is thought to be due to radiocarbon ages on older organic material having been contaminated by low levels of modern carbon. It is therefore suggested that all conventionally pre-treated radiocarbon ages greater than 35 14C ka BP should be treated with extreme caution.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): radiocarbon, optically stimulated luminescence, Devensian, fluvial
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Geography, Environment and Development Studies
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2011 09:23
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:20
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/3069

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