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Building Confidence in Shell: Variations in the Marine Radiocarbon Reservoir Correction for the Northwest Coast over the past 3,000 Years

Jennie N. Deo, John O. Stone and Julie K. Stein
American Antiquity
Vol. 69, No. 4 (Oct., 2004), pp. 771-786
DOI: 10.2307/4128449
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4128449
Page Count: 16
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Building Confidence in Shell: Variations in the Marine Radiocarbon Reservoir Correction for the Northwest Coast over the past 3,000 Years
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Abstract

In many regions, fluctuations have occurred through time in the local 14C activity of seawater. Evaluating these shifts and their effects on 14C age estimates is difficult, and, as a result, archaeologists working in coastal settings tend to preferentially date charcoal samples over shell. Our research on 18 charcoal-shell pairs from Puget Sound and Gulf of Georgia archaeological sites helps elucidate the spatial and temporal dynamics associated with marine reservoir effects in the Pacific Northwest. This analysis suggests that between 0 and 500 B.P. the regional correction value ($\Delta R$) is 400 years, which agrees with the modern value determined by Stuiver and others. Between 500 and 1200 B.P., however, $\Delta R$ dips close to zero, possibly reflecting a decrease in offshore upwelling. From 1200 to 3000 B.P., $\Delta R$ returns to 400 years. These data are presented as a Puget Sound/Gulf of Georgia regional correction curve for the late Holocene, which local researchers may use to calibrate dates of marine shell. In addition, we detail our methods for constructing calibration curves and present guidelines for archaeologists working in other coastal settings to develop calibration curves for their regions. /// A $trav\acute{e}s$ del tiempo, en muchas regiones, han ocurrido fluctuaciones en los niveles locales de C14 del agua del mar. Evaluar estos cambios y sus impactos en las estimaciones del C14 es $dif\acute{i}cil$, y como resultado, arqueólogos que trabajan en áreas costeras tienden a preferir dataciones de $carb\acute{o}n$ vegetal en lugar de dataciones provenientes de conchas marinas. Nuestra investigación de 18 pares de $carb\acute{o}n$ vegetal y conchas provenientes de sitios $arqueol\acute{o}gicos$ de Puget Sound y el Golfo de Georgia, ayuda a elucidar las $din\acute{a}micas$ espacio-temporales asociadas con los efectos del reservorio marino en el $Pac\acute{i}fico$ Noroeste. Este análisis sugiere que entre 0 y 500 años A.P. el valor corrector regional ($\Delta R$) es de 400 años, lo cual concuerda con el valor moderno determinado por Stuiver y otros; sin embargo entre 500 y 1200 años A.P. el valor de AR se acerca a cero, posiblemente reflejando un descenso en el flujo de agua procedente de las profundidades del mar abierto; entre 1200 y 3000 años A.P. el valor $\Delta R$ retorna a 400 años. Estos datos son presentados como una curva de $correcci\acute{o}n$ regional para el Puget Sound y el Golfo de Georgia durante el Holoceno tardío, la cual puede ser utilizada por investigadores locales para calibrar fechas obtenidas de conchas marinas. Se detallan $tambi\acute{e}n$ nuestros $m\acute{e}todos$ para construir curvas de $calibraci\acute{o}n$, y se presentan directrices para que arqueólogos que trabajan en otras zonas costeras desarrollen sus propias curvas de $calibraci\acute{o}n$.

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