Petchey, F., Allen, M. S., Addison, D. J. & Anderson, A. (2009). Stability in the South Pacific surface marine ¹⁴C reservoir over the last 750 years. Evidence from American Samoa, the southern Cook Islands and the Marquesas. Journal of Archaeological Science, 36(10), 2234-2243.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/3837
Although minor climatic and sea-level changes have been documented for the South Pacific during the late Holocene, our understanding of the consequent impact of these changes on the marine ¹⁴C reservoir, and therefore the ¹⁴C content of shellfish, is limited. Ultimately, this has implications for documenting the chronology of human movement and adaptation in this region. In this paper we compare marine reservoir (ΔR) data obtained from tightly controlled archaeological proveniences with known-age, pre-AD 1950 shells from the southern Cook Islands, American Samoa, and Marquesas Islands. Results indicate that there has been no significant change in the near-shore marine reservoir in these three locations over the last ca. 750 years. Furthermore, known-age, pre-AD 1950 shell samples provide more precise ΔR values for use in sample calibration than archaeological paired shell/charcoal samples. This is attributed in part to the limitations of assigning provenance and age to material from archaeological sites. On the basis of these results we conclude that the known-age, pre-AD 1950 shell derived ΔR values can be used to calibrate shell ¹⁴C results from deposits of late Holocene age.