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High-Precision Radiocarbon Measurements of Tree-Ring Dated Wood from New Zealand: 195 BC–AD 995

Alan Hogg, Jonathan Palmer, Gretel Boswijk, Chris Turney


The best means for correcting Southern Hemisphere (SH) radiocarbon measurements, which are significantly influenced by temporal variations in the interhemispheric offset, is by the construction of a SH-specific calibration curve from dendrochronologically dated wood. We present here decadal 14C measurements on dendrochronologically secure New Zealand kauri (Agathis australis), covering the period 195 BC–AD 995, extending the range of calibration measurements from New Zealand tree rings to more than 2 millennia.
Recently published Tasmanian huon pine (Lagarostrobos franklinii) data for the interval 165 BC to AD 1095 measured at the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (CAMS) have underestimated standard errors, which need to be re-assessed before the data can be considered for a Southern Hemisphere calibration curve update. The CAMS huon data, unlike the Waikato kauri data presented here, show a significant reduction in the SH offset for the interval AD 775–855. Although these data points are being checked, it is unlikely this represents a temporal geographic location-dependent offset. With re-assessed errors, the huon data set from 165 BC to AD 995 closely matches the new kauri data, with the combined data sets producing a mean interhemispheric offset with IntCal09 of 44 ± 17 yr for the time interval 195 BC–AD 1845. This SH offset is lower than the modeled offset of 55–58 yr used in the construction of SHCal04, and we recommend the lower value be used in future SHCal updates. Although there is an apparent increase in higher frequency events in the SH offset (NZ kauri plus Tasmanian huon) from 200 BC–AD 1000, the reason for this remains unclear.

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