Evidence for temporal fluctuations in marine radiocarbon reservoir ages in the Santa Barbara Channel, Southern California

Douglas J. Kennett, B. Lynn Ingram, Jon M. Erlandson, Phillip Walker

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Differences in the 14C ages of closely associated marine shell and carbonized plant material from stratified archaeological deposits on San Miguel Island, California, suggest Holocene (10,000-present) fluctuations in marine 14C reservoir ages. These fluctuations coincide with δ18O and δ13C shifts measured in Mytilus californianus shells from the same stratigraphic contexts and general atmospheric/oceanic circulation models for the region. Based on these data we make three primary observations: (1) significant changes appear to have occurred in the radiocarbon reservoir during the Holocene; (2) these fluctuations appear to correlate with regional oceanographic changes; and (3) high resolution 14C dating of marine shells may require different ΔR values for different periods of time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1051-1059
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1997


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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