NON-DESTRUCTIVE RADIOCARBON DATING: NATURALLY MUMMIFIED INFANT BUNDLE FROM SW TEXAS

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Plasma oxidation was used to obtain radiocarbon dates on six different materials from a naturally mummified baby bundle from the Lower Pecos River region of southwest Texas. This bundle was selected because it was thought to represent a single event and would illustrate the accuracy and precision of the plasma oxidation method. Five of the materials were clearly components of the original bundle with 13 dates combined to yield a weighted average of 2135 {+-} 11 B.P. Six dates from a wooden stick of Desert Ash averaged 939 {+-} 14 B.P., indicating that this artifact was not part of the ... continued below

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Steelman, K L; Rowe, M W; Turpin, S A; Guilderson, T P & Nightengale, L September 7, 2004.

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Description

Plasma oxidation was used to obtain radiocarbon dates on six different materials from a naturally mummified baby bundle from the Lower Pecos River region of southwest Texas. This bundle was selected because it was thought to represent a single event and would illustrate the accuracy and precision of the plasma oxidation method. Five of the materials were clearly components of the original bundle with 13 dates combined to yield a weighted average of 2135 {+-} 11 B.P. Six dates from a wooden stick of Desert Ash averaged 939 {+-} 14 B.P., indicating that this artifact was not part of the original burial. Plasma oxidation is shown to be a virtually non-destructive alternative to combustion. Because only sub-milligram amounts of material are removed from an artifact over its exposed surface, no visible change in fragile materials has been observed, even under magnification. The method is best applied when natural organic contamination is unlikely and serious consideration of this issue is needed in all cases. If organic contamination is present, it will have to be removed before plasma oxidation to obtain accurate radiocarbon dates.

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PDF-file: 32 pages; size: 0.2 Mbytes

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  • Journal Name: American Antiquity, vol. 69, no. 4, October 1, 2004, pp. 741-750; Journal Volume: 69; Journal Issue: 4

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  • Report No.: UCRL-JRNL-206429
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 936474
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc900413

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • September 7, 2004

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  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Dec. 6, 2016, 2:07 p.m.

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Steelman, K L; Rowe, M W; Turpin, S A; Guilderson, T P & Nightengale, L. NON-DESTRUCTIVE RADIOCARBON DATING: NATURALLY MUMMIFIED INFANT BUNDLE FROM SW TEXAS, article, September 7, 2004; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc900413/: accessed November 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.