Debates over Palaeolithic chronology – the reliability of 14C is confirmed Academic Article uri icon


  • The debate about the complex issues of human development during the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition period (45-35 ka BP) has been hampered by concerns about the reliability of the radiocarbon dating method. Large C-14 anomalies were postulated and radiocarbon dating was considered flawed. We show here that these issues are no longer relevant, because the large anomalies are artefacts beyond plausible physical limits for their magnitude. Previous inconsistencies between C-14 radiocarbon datasets have been resolved, and a new radiocarbon calibration curve, IntCal09 (Reimer et al., 2009), was created. Improved procedures for bone collagen extraction and charcoal pre-treatment generally result in older ages, consistent with independently dated time markers. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • July 2012