The OCR carbon dating procedure in Australia: New dates from Wilinyjibari Rockshelter, southeast Kimberley, Western Australia

22nd November 2013

Wilinyijibari rockshelter, Kimberley, WA (published in Australian Archaeology 51:8).

Wilinyijibari rockshelter, Kimberley, WA (published in Australian Archaeology 51:8).

Rodney Harrison and Douglas S. Frink

Introduction*

This paper presents the results of the application of the newly developed absolute dating technique, the OCR carbon dating procedure, to a sequence of soil samples from a pre- and post-contact Aboriginal rockshelter site in the southeast Kimberley, Western Australia. This represents the first published set of OCR dates on Australasian soil samples from archaeological site contexts. The sequence of OCR dates has been paired with several [‘C dates as an initial trial of the technique under Australian conditions. The OCR procedure measures the site-specific rate of biodegradation of organic carbon in soils, which under most circumstances will closely approximate the age of artefacts and cultural features contained within them. Close agreement between paired OCR and I4C determinations from Wilinyjibari suggest that with further research, the OCR carbon dating procedure may have potential applications to both pre- and post-contact archaeological sites in Australia, particularly sites with little organic carbon from which to derive radiometric carbon dates. The paper provides a contribution to the growing literature on alternate chronometric methodologies in Australian archaeology.

*Note that an abstract was not included with this paper, and so the introductory paragraph has been included here instead of the abstract.

Harrison, R. and D.S. Frink
The OCR carbon dating procedure in Australia: New dates from Wilinyjibari Rockshelter, southeast Kimberley, Western Australia
December 2000
51
6–15
Article
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