Hostname: page-component-f7d5f74f5-z2nk8 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-10-02T22:55:26.035Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "coreDisableSocialShare": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForArticlePurchase": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForBookPurchase": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForElementPurchase": false, "coreUseNewShare": true, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

Highly Variable Freshwater Reservoir Offsets Found along the Upper Lena Watershed, Cis-Baikal, Southeast Siberia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 February 2016

Rick J Schulting*
Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, Dyson Perrins Building, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QY, United Kingdom
Christopher Bronk Ramsey
Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, Dyson Perrins Building, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QY, United Kingdom
Vladimir I Bazaliiskii
Department of Archaeology and Ethnography, Irkutsk State University, Karl Marx Street 1, Irkutsk 664003, Russia
Andrzej Weber
Department of Anthropology, 13-15 H.M. Tory Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2H4, Canada
2Corresponding author. Email:


A program of paired dating of human and faunal remains on a sample of 11 prehistoric (Mesolithic/Neolithic to Early Bronze Age) graves in the Upper Lena basin, southeast Siberia, was initiated to investigate the freshwater reservoir effect (FRE). The results show the presence of a substantial but highly variable offset, ranging from 255 to 1010 14C yr. In contrast to previous studies centered on Lake Baikal and the Angara River, human stable nitrogen isotope values show little or no correlation with the radiocarbon offset, despite the clear trophic differences seen in δ15N between terrestrial and aquatic sources of protein in the region's isotope ecology. However, stable carbon isotope measurements show a moderate negative correlation of some predictive value (r = −0.70, p = 0.016, df = 10). Two different regression equations have been calculated, the first using human δ13C values for the entire data set (r2 = 0.49) and the second, using both δ13C and δ15N values, limited to the Early Bronze Age of the southern Upper Lena (r2 = 0.84, p = 0.030, df = 5). The source of the old carbon in the Upper Lena River system is not clear. While the river flows over carbonate bedrock and is moderately alkaline, we suggest that old terrestrial carbon entering the riverine foodweb through bank erosion and other processes is a more likely candidate for the majority of the 14C offset.

Copyright © 2015 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



Afanas'ev, AN. 1960. Vodnyi balans oz. Baikal. Obshchie morphometricheskie dannye kotloviny Baikala. Trudy Baikal'skoi limnologicheskoi stantsii, Volume XVIII. p 155241.Google Scholar
Ascough, PL, Cook, GT, Church, MJ, Dunbar, E, Einarsson, A, McGovern, TH, Dugmore, AJ, Perdikaris, S, Hastie, H, Fririksson, A, Gestsdottir, H. 2010. Temporal and spatial variations in freshwater 14C reservoir effects: Lake Mývatn, northern Iceland. Radiocarbon 52(3):1098–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bauer, JE, Bianchi, TS. 2011. Dissolved organic carbon cycling and transformation. In: Wolanski, E, McLusky, DS, editors. Treatise on Estuarine and Coastal Science, Volume 5. Waltham: Academic Press. p 767.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Benner, R, Benitez-Nelson, B, Kaiser, K, Amo, RMW. 2004. Export of young terrigenous dissolved organic carbon from rivers to the Arctic Ocean. Geophysical Research Letters 31(5):L05305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Berggren, M, Sponseller, RA, Alves Soares, AR, Bergstrom, A-K. 2015. Toward an ecologically meaningful view of resource stoichiometry in DOM-dominated aquatic systems. Journal of Plankton Research 37(3):489–99.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bezrukova, EV, Tarasov, PE, Solovieva, N, Krivonogov, SK, Riedel, F. 2010. Last glacial—interglacial vegetation and environmental dynamics in southern Siberia: chronology, forcing and feedbacks. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 296(1–2):185–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bezrukova, EV, Belov, AV, Letunova, PP, Kulagina, NV. 2014. The response of the environment of the Angara–Lena Plateau to global climate change in the Holocene. Russian Geology and Geophysics 55:463–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bocherens, H, Drucker, D. 2003. Trophic level isotopic enrichments for carbon and nitrogen in collagen: case studies from recent and ancient terrestrial ecosystems. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 13(1–2):4653.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brock, F, Bronk Ramsey, C, Higham, TFG. 2007. Quality assurance of ultrafiltered bone dating. Radiocarbon 49(2):189–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brock, F, Higham, TFG, Ditchfield, P, Bronk Ramsey, C. 2010. Current pretreatment methods for AMS radiocarbon dating at the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit (ORAU). Radiocarbon 52(1):102–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bronk Ramsey, C, Lee, S. 2013. Recent and planned developments of the program OxCal. Radiocarbon 55(2–3):720–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bronk Ramsey, C, Schulting, RJ, Goriunova, OI, Bazaliiskii, VI, Weber, AW. 2014. Analyzing radiocarbon reservoir offsets through stable nitrogen isotopes and Bayesian modeling: a case study using paired human and faunal remains from the Cis-Baikal region, Siberia. Radiocarbon 56(2):789–99.Google Scholar
Cauwet, G, Sidorov, IS. 1996. The biogeochemistry of the Lena river: organic carbon and nutrients distribution. Marine Chemistry 53(3–4):211–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Colman, SM, Jones, GA, Rubin, M, King, JW, Pecks, JA, Orems, JH. 1996. AMS radiocarbon analyses from Lake Baikal, Siberia: challenges of dating sediments from a large, oligotrophic lake. Quaternary Science Reviews 15(7):669–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cooper, LW, McClelland, JW, Holmes, RM, Raymond, PA, Gibson, JJ, Guay, CK, Peterson, BJ. 2008. Flow-weighted values of runoff tracers (δ18O, DOC, Ba, alkalinity) from the six largest Arctic rivers. Geophysical Research Letters 35:L18606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Crockford, SJ, Frederick, SG. 2007. Sea ice expansion in the Bering Sea during the Neoglacial: evidence from archaeozoology. The Holocene 17(6):699706.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
DeNiro, MJ. 1985. Postmortem preservation and alteration of in vivo bone collagen isotope ratios in relation to palaeodietary reconstruction. Nature 317(6040):806–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Feng, X, Vonk, JE, van Dongen, BE, Gustafsson, Ö, Semiletov, IP, Dudarev, OV, Wang, Z, Montluçon, DB, Wacker, L, Eglinton, TI. 2013. Differential mobilization of terrestrial carbon pools in Eurasian Arctic river basins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 110(335):14,16873.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Gordeev, VV, Sidorov, IS. 1993. Concentrations of major elements and their outflow into the Laptev Sea by the Lena River. Marine Chemistry 43(1–4):3345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gruber, N, Keeling, CD, Bacastow, RB, Guenther, PR, Lueker, TJ, Wahlen, M, Meijer, HAJ, Mook, WG, Stocker, TF. 1999. Spatiotemporal patterns of carbon-13 in the global surface oceans and the oceanic Suess effect. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 13(2):307–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Guo, L, Semiletov, I, Gustafsson, Ö, Ingri, J, Andersson, P, Dudarev, O, White, D. 2004. Characterization of Siberian Arctic coastal sediments: implications for terrestrial organic carbon export. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 18(1):GB1036.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gustafsson, Ö, van Dongen, BE, Vonk, JE, Dudarev, OV, Semiletov, IP. 2011. Widespread release of old carbon across the Siberian Arctic echoed by its large rivers. Biogeosciences 8:1737–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hedges, REM, Reynard, LM. 2007. Nitrogen isotopes and the trophic level of humans in archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Science 34(8):1240–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Higham, TFG, Warren, R, Belinskij, A, Härke, H, Wood, R. 2010. Radiocarbon dating, stable isotope analysis, and diet-derived offsets in ages from the Klin Yar site, Russian North Caucasus. Radiocarbon 52(2):653–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hohmann, R, Kipfer, R, Peeters, F, Piepke, G, Imboden, DM, Shimarev, MN. 1997. Deep-water renewal in Lake Baikal. Limnology and Oceanography 42(5):841–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Huh, Y, Tsoi, M-Y, Zaitsev, A, Edmond, JM. 1998. The fluvial geochemistry of the rivers of Eastern Siberia: I. Tributaries of the Lena River draining the sedimentary platform of the Siberian Craton. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 62(10):1657–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jansson, M, Bergström, A-K, Blomqvist, P, Drakare, S. 2000. Allochthonous organic carbon and phytoplankton/bacterioplankton production relationships in lakes. Ecology 81(11):3250–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Katzenberg, MA, Weber, A. 1999. Stable isotope ecology and palaeodiet in the Lake Baikal region of Siberia. Journal of Archaeological Science 26(6):651–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Katzenberg, MA, Goriunova, OI, Weber, A. 2009. Paleodiet reconstruction of Early Bronze Age Siberians from the site of Khuzhir-Nuge XIV, Lake Baikal. Journal of Archaeological Science 36(3):663–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Katzenberg, MA, Bazaliiskii, VI, Goriunova, OI, Savel'ev, N, Weber, AW. 2010. Diet reconstruction of prehistoric hunter-gatherers in the Lake Baikal region. In: Weber, AW, Katzenberg, MA, Schurr, TG, editors. Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers of the Baikal Region, Siberia. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. p 175–91.Google Scholar
Katzenberg, MA, McKenzie, HG, Losey, RJ, Goriunova, OI, Weber, A. 2012. Prehistoric dietary adaptations among hunter-fisher-gatherers from the Little Sea of Lake Baikal, Siberia, Russian Federation. Journal of Archaeological Science 39(8):2612–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Keaveney, EM, Reimer, PJ. 2012. Understanding the variability in freshwater radiocarbon reservoir offsets: a cautionary tale. Journal of Archaeological Science 39(5):1306–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Keeling, CD. 1979. The Suess effect: 13C-14C interrelations. Environment International 2(4–6):229300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kiyashko, SI, Richard, P, Chandler, T, Kozlova, TA, Williams, DF. 1998. Stable carbon isotope ratios differentiate autotrophs supporting animal diversity in Lake Baikal. Comptes Rendus Biologies 321(6):509–16.Google Scholar
Kozhov, M. 1963. Lake Baikal and Its Life. The Hague: Dr. W. Junk.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lara, RJ, Rachold, V, Kattner, G, Hubberten, H-W, Guggenberger, G, Skoog, A, Thomas, DN. 1998. Dissolved organic matter and nutrients in the Lena River, Siberian Arctic: characteristics and distribution. Marine Chemistry 59(3–4):301–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lobbes, JM, Fitznar, HP, Kattner, G. 2000. Biogeochemical characteristics of dissolved and particulate organic matter in Russian rivers entering the Arctic Ocean. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 64(17):2973–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McCallister, SL, del Giorgio, PA. 2012. Evidence for the respiration of ancient terrestrial organic C in northern temperate lakes and streams. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 109(42):16,9638.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Minagawa, M, Wada, E. 1984. Stepwise enrichment of 15N along food chains: further evidence and the relation between δ15N and animal age. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 48(5):1135–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nomokonova, T, Losey, RJ, Goriunova, OI, Weber, AW. 2013. A freshwater old carbon offset in Lake Baikal, Siberia and problems with the radiocarbon dating of archaeological sediments: evidence from the Sagan-Zaba II site. Quaternary International 290–291:110–25.Google Scholar
Orlova, LA, Panychev, VA. 1993. The reliability of radiocarbon dating buried soils. Radiocarbon 35(3):369–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Osipov, EY, Khlystov, OM. 2010. Glaciers and meltwater flux to Lake Baikal during the Last Glacial Maximum. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 294(1):415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pipko, II, Pugach, SP, Dudarev, OV, Charkin, AN, Semiletov, IP. 2010. Carbonate parameters of the Lena River: characteristics and distribution. Geochemistry International 48(11):1131–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Prokopenko, AA, Williams, DF. 2004. Deglacial methane emission signals in the carbon isotopic record of Lake Baikal. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 218(1–2):135–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Prokopenko, AA, Williams, DF, Karabanov, EB, Khursevich, GK. 1999. Response of Lake Baikal ecosystem to climate forcing and pCO2 change over the last glacial/interglacial transition. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 172(3–4):239–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rachold, V, Hubberten, H-W. 1999. Carbon isotope composition of particulate organic material in East Siberian rivers. In: Kassens, H, Bauch, HA, Dmitrenko, I, Eicken, H, Melles, M, Thiede, J, Timokhov, L, editors. Land-Ocean Systems in the Siberian Arctic. Berlin: Srpinger-Verlag. p 223–38.Google Scholar
Raymond, PA, Bauer, JE. 2001. Riverine export of aged terrestrial organic matter to the North Atlantic Ocean. Nature 409(6819):497500.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Reynolds, CS, Descy, J-P. 1996. The production, biomass and structure of phytoplankton in large rivers. Archives of Hydrobiology 113:161–87.Google Scholar
Scharlotta, I, Goriunova, OI, Weber, A. 2013. Micro-sampling of human bones for mobility studies: diagenetic impacts and potentials for elemental and isotopic research. Journal of Archaeological Science 40(12):4509–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schulting, RJ, Bronk Ramsey, C, Goriunova, OI, Bazaliiskii, VI, Weber, A. 2014. Freshwater reservoir offsets investigated through paired human-faunal 14C dating and stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis at Lake Baikal, Siberia. Radiocarbon 56(3):9911008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Søballe, DM, Kimmel, BL. 1987. A large-scale comparison of factors influencing phytoplankton abundance in rivers, lakes, and impoundments. Ecology 68(6):1943–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sorokin, YI, Sorokin, PY. 1996. Plankton and primary production in the Lena River estuary and in the south-eastern Laptev Sea. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 43(4):399418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stenhouse, MJ, Baxter, MS. 1979. The uptake of bomb 14C in humans. In: Berger, R, Suess, HE, editors. Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Radiocarbon Dating. Los Angeles: University of California Press. p 324–41.Google Scholar
Svensson, A, Andersen, KK, Bigler, M, Clausen, HB, Dahl-Jensen, D, Davies, SM, Johnsen, SJ, Muscheler, R, Parrenin, F, Rasmussen, SO, Röthlisberger, R, Seierstad, I, Steffensen, JP, Vinther, BM. 2008. A 60 000 year Greenland stratigraphic ice core chronology. Climate of the Past 4(1):4757.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tarasov, P, Bezrukova, E, Karabanov, E, Nakagawa, T, Wagner, M, Kulagina, N, Letunova, P, Abzaeva, A, Granoszewski, W, Riedel, F. 2007. Vegetation and climate dynamics during the Holocene and Eemian interglacials derived from Lake Baikal pollen records. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 252(3–4):440–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tarasov, PE, Bezrukova, EV, Krivonogov, SK. 2009. Late Glacial and Holocene changes in vegetation cover and climate in southern Siberia derived from a 15 kyr long pollen record from Lake Kotokel. Climate of the Past 5(3):285–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Telang, SA, Pocklington, R, Naidu, AS, Romankevich, EA, Giletsen, II, Gladyshev, MI. 1991. Carbon and mineral transport in major North American, Russian Arctic, and Siberian rivers: the St Lawrence, the Mackenzie, the Yukon, the Arctic Alaskan rivers, the Arctic Basin rivers in the Soviet Union, and the Yenisei. In: Degens, ET, Kempe, S, Richey, JE, editors. Biogeochemistry of Major World Rivers. Chichester: John Wiley. p 75104.Google Scholar
Thorp, JH, Delong, MD. 2002. Dominance of autochthonous autotrophic carbon in food webs of heterotrophic rivers. Oikos 96(3):543–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Uno, KT, Quade, J, Fisher, DC, Wittemyer, G, Douglas-Hamilton, I, Andanje, S, Omondi, P, Litoroh, M, Cerling, TE. 2013. Bomb-curve radiocarbon measurement of recent biologic tissues and applications to wildlife forensics and stable isotope (paleo)ecology. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 110(29):11,73641.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Vaks, A, Gutareva, OS, Breitenbach, SFM, Avirmed, E, Mason, AJ, Thomas, AL, Osinzev, AV, Kononov, AM, Henderson, GM. 2013. Speleothems reveal 500,000-year history of Siberian permafrost. Science 340(6129):183–6.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
van Klinken, GJ. 1999. Bone collagen quality indicators for palaeodietary and radiocarbon measurements. Journal of Archaeological Science 26(6):687–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Vonk, JE, Mann, PJ, Davydov, S, Davydova, A, Spencer, RGM, Schade, J, Sobczak, WV, Zimov, N, Zimov, S, Bulygina, E, Eglinton, TI, Holmes, RM. 2013. High biolability of ancient permafrost carbon upon thaw. Geophysical Research Letters 40(11):2689–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wassenaar, LI, Aravena, R, Fritz, P, Barker, J. 1990. Isotopic composition (13C, 14C, 2H) and geochemistry of aquatic humic substances from groundwater. Organic Geochemistry 15(4):383–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Waters-Rist, AL, Bazaliiski, VI, Weber, A, Katzenberg, MA. 2011. Infant and child diet in Neolithic hunter-fisher-gatherers from Cis-Baikal, Siberia: intra-long bone stable nitrogen and carbon isotope ratios. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 146(2):225–41.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Weber, AW, Bettinger, RL. 2010. Middle Holocene hunter-gatherers of Cis-Baikal, Siberia: an overview for the new century. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 29(4):491506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Weber, AW, Goriunova, OI. 2013. Hunter-gatherer migrations, mobility and social relations: a case study from the Bronze Age Baikal region, Siberia. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 32(3):330–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Weber, AW, Link, DW, Katzenberg, MA. 2002. Huntergatherer culture change and continuity in the Middle Holocene of the Cis-Baikal, Siberia. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 21(2):230–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Weber, AW, McKenzie, H, Beukens, R. 2010. Radiocarbon dating of Middle Holocene cultural history in Cis-Baikal. In: Weber, AW, Katzenberg, MA, Schurr, TG, editors. Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers of the Baikal Region, Siberia. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. p 2749.Google Scholar
Weber, AW, White, D, Bazaliiskii, VI, Goriunova, OI, Savel'ev, NA, Katzenberg, MA. 2011. Huntergatherer foraging ranges, migrations, and travel in the middle Holocene Baikal region of Siberia: insights from carbon and nitrogen stable isotope signatures. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 30(4):523–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Weber, AW, Goriunova, OI, McKenzie, HG, Lieverse, AR, editors. 2012. Kurma XI, a Middle Holocene Hunter-Gatherer Cemetery on Lake Baikal. Edmonton: Canadian Circumpolar Institute Press.Google Scholar
White, D, Bush, A. 2010. Holocene climate, environmental change, and Neolithic biocultural discontinuity in the Baikal region. In: Weber, AW, Katzenberg, MA, Schurr, TG, editors. Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers of the Baikal Region, Siberia. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. p 126.Google Scholar
Wood, RE, Higham, T, Buzilhova, A, Surorov, A, Heinemeier, J, Olsen, J. 2013. Freshwater radiocarbon reservoir effects at the burial ground of Minino, northwest Russia. Radiocarbon 55(1):163–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Yoshii, K. 1999. Stable isotope analysis of benthic organisms in Lake Baikal. Hydrobiologia 411:145–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Yu, S-Y, Shen, J, Colman, SM. 2007. Modeling the radiocarbon reservoir effect in lacustrine systems. Radiocarbon 49(3):1241–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar