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First (super 14) C results from archaeological and forensic studies at the Vienna Environmental Research Accelerator.

Eva Wild, Robin Golser, Peter Hille, Walter Kutschera, Alfred Priller, Stephan Puchegger, Werner Rom, Peter Steier

Abstract


(super 14) C dating with the new Vienna Environmental Research Accelerator (VERA) began with the age determination of a mummified marmot found in the Austrian Alpine region. Soft tissue and bones of the marmot were used for the investigation. For comparison, bone material from known-age samples was also processed and measured. These exercises showed that (super 14) C dating with VERA is reliable, and since that time various samples from archaeological context have been dated. We also studied the applicability of the (super 14) C method in forensic sciences to determine the time of death of human individuals. (super 14) C/ (super 12) C measurements of samples from different organic human material (bone collagen, lipids from bone and bone marrow, hair) were performed and compared with the tropospheric "bomb peak" values to transform the measured ratios into "calibrated ages". For specific substances with rapid turnover rates, this gives an estimate for the time of death of the individual. In our study, lipids and hair yield reasonable times of death, whereas the collagen fraction from bones, which has a relatively long turnover time, is not suitable for this purpose.

Keywords


forensic geology;human ecology;fatty acids;lipids;C 14 C 12;organic acids;archaeology;Holocene;organic compounds;sample preparation;bones;Cenozoic;Quaternary;wood;C 14;carbon;isotopes;radioactive isotopes;stable isotopes;absolute age

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