Archaeological dating perspective radiocarbon


However, the method is not without limitations and this review article provides Africanist archaeologists with cautionary insights as to when, where, and how to utilize radiocarbon dates.Specifically, the review will concentrate on the potential of carbon reservoirs and recycled organic remains to inflate apparent age estimates, diagenesis of carbon isotopes in variable p H ecologies, and hot-humid climates and non-climate-controlled archives that can compromise the efficacy of samples.Like all continents, Africa has a heterogeneous geography and should not be viewed as a single “place.” However, in the context of this review, it will become obvious that there are issues unique to radiocarbon dating in Africa that overlap other areas of the world, but combine to create circumstances specific to the continent given the history of research conducted therein.



A multipronged dating strategy and careful selection of radiocarbon sample materials are advocated from the earliest stages of research design. Cette revue fournit les archéologues africanistes avec des appréciations et des mises en garde sur l’utilisation des âges radiocarbone.All archaeologists should be aware of the fact that they are dating organic samples, and it is the archaeological context of that sample that determines its relationship to the site’s age.If the contextual association of the sample to the site is poor or if there are taphonomic effects that have compromised the sample’s integrity, the accuracy of the date relative to the archaeological occupation will be poor, even if the date is precise (e.g., ±10 years).Beta particles are electrons or positrons that are emitted from the nucleus of an atom during the process of radioactive decay.