• Rick Schulting
  • Christophe Snoeck
  • Ian Begley
  • Steve Brookes
  • Vladimir Bazaliiskii
  • Christopher Bronk Ramsey
  • Andrzej Weber

There is increasing awareness of the need to correct for freshwater as well as marine reservoir effects when undertaking radiocarbon ( 14C) dating of human remains. Here, we explore the use of stable hydrogen isotopes (δ 2H), alongside the more commonly used stable carbon (δ 13C) and nitrogen isotopes (δ 15N), for correcting 14C freshwater reservoir offsets in 10 paired human-faunal dates from graves at the prehistoric cemetery of Shamanka II, Lake Baikal, southern Siberia. Excluding one individual showing no offset, the average human-faunal offset was 515±175 14C yr. Linear regression models demonstrate a strong positive correlation between δ 15N and δ 2H ratios, supporting the use of δ 2H as a proxy for trophic level. Both isotopes show moderate but significant correlations (r 2 ~ 0.45, p < 0.05) with 14C offsets (while δ 13C on its own does not), though δ 2H performs marginally better. A regression model using all three stable isotopes to predict 14C offsets accounts for approximately 65% of the variation in the latter (r 2=0.651, p=0.025), with both δ 13C and δ 2H, but not δ 15N, contributing significantly. The results suggest that δ 2H may be a useful proxy for freshwater reservoir corrections, though further work is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1521-1532
Number of pages12
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018

    Research areas

  • Early Bronze Age, Early Neolithic, fisher-hunter-gatherers, freshwater reservoir effects, stable carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen isotopes

ID: 39239518