Spatial Variation in the Marine Radiocarbon Reservoir Effect throughout the Scottish Post-Roman to Late Medieval Period: North Sea Values (500-1350 BP)

N. Russell, G. T. Cook, P. L. Ascough, A. J. Dugmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The marine radiocarbon reservoir effect (MRE) occurs as a spatially and temporally dependent variable owing to localized changes in oceanic water composition. This study investigates Delta R values (deviations from the global average MRE whose Delta R = 0) during the period 500-1350 BP for the east coast of Scotland, where a complex estuarine system exists that drains into the semi-enclosed North Sea basin. Due to the availability of suitable archaeological samples, the data set has a distinct Medieval focus that spans the area from Aberdeen in the north to East Lothian in the south. Many of the AR values are not significantly different from 0 (the global average), but there are occasional excursions to negative values (max -172 +/- 20) indicating the presence of younger water. These values show greater variability compared to other published data for this general region, suggesting that considerable care must be taken when dating marine derived samples from archaeological sites on the east coast of Scotland.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1166-1181
Number of pages16
JournalRadiocarbon
Volume52
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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