Skip to main content

Consideration of Freshwater and Multiple Marine Reservoir Effects: Dating of Individuals with Mixed Diets from Northern Sweden

  • Jack P R Dury (a1) (a2), Gunilla Eriksson (a1), Markus Fjellström (a1), Thomas Wallerström (a3) and Kerstin Lidén (a1)...

Human burials from the cemetery at the Rounala church, northern Sweden, were radiocarbon (14C) dated to shed light on the use of the cemetery. Carbon, nitrogen and sulfur stable isotope analysis of bone collagen from 19 distinct individuals indicated that these individuals had a mixed diet consisting of freshwater, marine and terrestrial resources. Dietary modeling using FRUITS was employed to calculate the contributions of the different resources for each individual. These data were then used to calculate individual ΔR values, taking into account freshwater and multiple marine reservoir effects, the latter caused by Baltic and Atlantic marine dietary inputs, respectively. 14C dating of tissues from modern freshwater fish species demonstrate a lack of a freshwater reservoir effect in the area. Two OxCal models were used to provide endpoint age estimates. The calibrated data suggest that the site’s cemetery was most likely in use already from the 14th century, and perhaps until at least the late 18th century.

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author. Email:
Hide All
Ambrose, SH. 1990. Preparation and characterization of bone and tooth collagen for isotopic analysis. Journal of Archaeological Science 17(4):431451.
Aronsson, K−Å. 2013. Research on human remains from indigenous people: reflections from an archaeological perspective (with an example from Rounala). In: Fossheim H, editor. More Than Just Bones: Ethics and Research on Human Remains. Oslo: The Norwegian National Research Ethics Committees. p 6579.
Ascough, PL, Church, MJ, Cook, GT, Dunbar, E, Gestsdóttir, H, McGovern, TH, Dugmore, AJ, Friðriksson, A, Edwards, KJ. 2012. Radiocarbon reservoir effects in human bone collagen from northern Iceland. Journal of Archaeological Science 39(7):22612271.
Ascough, PL, Cook, GT, Church, MJ, Dugmore, AJ, McGovern, TH, Dunbar, E, Einarsson, E, Friðriksson, A, Gestsdottir, H. 2007. Reservoirs and radiocarbon: 14C dating problems in Myvatnssveit, northern Iceland. Radiocarbon 49(2):947961.
Ascough, PL, Cook, GT, Dugmore, AJ. 2005. Methodological approaches to determining the marine radiocarbon reservoir effect. Progress in Physical Geography 29(4):532547.
Barnes, C, Jennings, S. 2007. Effect of temperature, ration, body size and age on sulphur isotope fractionation in fish. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 21(8):14611467.
Barrett, JH, Orton, D, Johnstone, C, Harland, J, Van Neer, W, Ervynck, A, Roberts, C, Locker, A, Amundsen, C, Enghoff, IB, Hamilton-Dyer, S, Heinrich, D, Hufthammer, AK, Jones, AKG, Jonsson, L, Makowiecki, D, Pope, P, O’Connell, TC, de Roo, T, Richards, M. 2011. Interpreting the expansion of sea fishing in medieval Europe using stable isotope analysis of archaeological cod bones. Journal of Archaeological Science 38(7):15161524.
Bergman, I, Ramqvist, P. 2017. Farmer-fishermen: Interior lake fishing and inter-cultural and intra-cultural relations among coastal and interior Sámi communities in northern Sweden AD 1200–1600. Acta Borealia 34(2):134158.
Bocherens, H, Drucker, D. 2003. Trophic level isotopic enrichment of carbon and nitrogen in bone collagen: case studies from recent and ancient terrestrial ecosystems. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 13(1–2):4653.
Bronk Ramsey, C. 2009. Bayesian analysis of radiocarbon dates. Radiocarbon 51(1):337360.
Brown, TA, Nelson, DE, Vogel, JS, Southon, JR. 1988. Improved collagen extraction by modified Longin method. Radiocarbon 30(2):171177.
Colonese, AC, Thomas, F, Lucquin, A, Firth, D, Charlton, S, Robson, HK, Alexander, M, Craig, OE. 2015. Archaeological bone lipids as palaeodietary markers. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 29:611618
DeNiro, MJ. 1985. Postmortem preservation and alteration of in vivo bone collagen isotope ratios in relation to palaeodietary reconstruction. Nature 317(6040):806.
DeNiro, MJ, Epstein, S. 1978. Influence of diet on thedistribution of carbon isotopes in animals. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 42(5):495506.
Enhus, C, Boalt, E, Bignert, A. 2011. A retrospective study of metals and stable isotopes in seals from Swedish waters. Swedish Museum of Natural History Report 5:2011. Stockholm.
Fernandes, R, Millard, AR, Brabec, M, Nadeau, M−J, Grootes, P. 2014. Food reconstruction using isotopic transferred signals (FRUITS): a Bayesian model for diet reconstruction. PLoS One 9(2):e87436.
Fjellström, M. 2011. Stable Isotope Analysis and Ethical Issues Surrounding a Human Skeleton Material from Rounala in Karesuando Parish [master’s thesis]. Stockholm University: Archaeological Research Laboratory.
Fjellström, P. 1985. Samernas samhälle i tradition och nutid. Stockholm: Norstedt.
Guttormsen, H. 2005. Lyngen regionhistorie. Bind 1. Lyngen: Lyngen bygdebok.
Hoppe, G. 1945. Vägarna inom Norrbottens län: Studier över den trafikgeografiska utvecklingen från 1500−talet till våra dagar. Uppsala.
Iacumin, P, Nikolaev, V, Ramigni, M. 2000. C and N stable isotope measurements on Eurasian fossil mammals, 40 000 to 10 000 years BP: Herbivore physiologies and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 163:3347.
Kaufman, L, Michener, RH. 2007. Stable isotope ratios as tracers in marine food webs: An update. In: Michener R, Lajtha K, editors. Stable Isotopes in Ecology and Environmental Science. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications.
Keeling, CD. 1979. The Suess effect: 13Carbon−14Carbon interrelations. Environment International 2(4–6):229300.
Kent, N. 2014. The Sámi Peoples of the North: A Social and Cultural History. London.
Korpijaakko-Labba, K. 1994. Om samernas rättsliga ställning i Sverige-Finland. En rättshistorisk utredning av markanvändningsförhållanden och -rättigheter i Västerbottens lappmark före mitten av 1700-talet. Helsingfors: Juristförbundets förlag.
Lidén, K, Fjellström, M, Wallerström, T, in press. Nya resultat från Eskil Olssons Rounala-utgrävning 1915. In: T Wallerström Kunglig makt och samiska bosättningsmönster: Studier kring Väinö Tanners vinterbyteori. Instituttet for sammenlignende kulturforskning. Serie B. Skrifter CLXV. Oslo: Novus forlag.
Linderholm, A, Andersson, K, Mörth, C−M, Grundberg, L, Hårding, B, Lidén, K. 2008. An early Christian cemetery at Björned in northern Sweden. Fornvännen 103(3):176189.
Longin, R. 1971. New method of collagen extraction for radiocarbon dating. Nature 230: 241–2
Lougheed, BC, Filipsson, HL, Snowball, I. 2013. Large spatial variations in coastal 14C reservoir age – a case study from the Baltic Sea. Climate of the Past 9(3):10151028.
Mangerud, J. 1972. Radiocarbon dating of marine shells, including a discussion of apparent age of recent shells from Norway. Boreas 1(2):143172.
Mangerud, J, Bondevik, S, Gulliksen, S, Hufthammer, AK, Høisæter, T. 2006. Marine 14C reservoir ages for 19th century whales and molluscs from the North Atlantic. Quaternary Science Review 25(23):32283245.
Mangerud, J, Gulliksen, S. 1975. Apparent radiocarbon ages of recent marine shells from Norway, Spitsbergen, and Arctic Canada. Quaternary Research 5(2):263273.
Manker, E. 1961. Lappmarksgravar: Dödsföreställningar och gravskick i lappmarkerna. Anteckningar. Stockholm.
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):11351140.
Nehlich, O, Barrett, JH, Richards, MP. 2013. Spatial variability in sulphur isotope values of archaeological and modern cod (Gadus morhua). Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 27(20):22552262.
Nehlich, O, Richards, M. 2009. Establishing collagen quality criteria for sulphur isotope analysis of archaeological bone collagen. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 1(1):5975.
Nickul, K. 1977. The Lappish Nation: Citizens of Four Countries. Uralic and Altaic Series, Vol. 122. Bloomington.
Norstedt, G, Axelsson, A-L, Östlund, L. 2014. Exploring Pre-Colonial resource control of individual Sami households. Arctic 67(2):223237.
Norstedt, G, Östlund, L. 2016. Fish or reindeer? The relation between subsistence patterns and settlement patterns among the forest Sami. Arctic Anthropology 53(1):2236.
Philippsen, B. 2013. The freshwater reservoir effect in radiocarbon dating. Heritage Science 1(1):24.
Rasmussen, S. 2016. Samisk integrering i norsk og svensk kirke i tidlig nytid: En komparasjon mellom Finnmark og Torne lappmark. The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø.
Reimer, PJ, Bard, E, Bayliss, A, Warren Beck, J, Blackwell, PG, Bronk Ramsey, C, Buck, CE, Cheng, H, Lawrence Edwards, R, Friedrich, M, Grootes, PM, Guilderson, TP, Haflidason, H, Hajdas, I, Hatté, C, Heaton, TJ, Hoffmann, DL, Hogg, AG, Hughen, KA, Felix Kaiser, K, Kromer, B, Manning, SW, Niu, M, Reimer, RW, Richards, DA, Marian Scott, E, Southon, JR, Staff, RA, Turney, CSM, van der Plicht, J. 2013. IntCal13 and Marine13 Radiocarbon age calibration curves 0–50,000 years cal BP. Radiocarbon 55(4):18691887.
Reimer, R, Reimer, P. 2004. CALIBomb − calibration of post-bomb C-14 data. Online software:
Richards, MP, Hedges, REM. 1999. Stable Isotope Evidence for Similarities in the Types of Marine Foods Used by Late Mesolithic Humans at Sites Along the Atlantic Coast of Europe. Journal of Archaeological Science 26:717722.
Ruong, I. 1982. Samerna i historien och nutiden. Aldus akademi, 4th edition. Stockholm.
Russell, N, Cook, G, Ascough, P, Scott, EM, Dugmore, AJ. 2011. Examining the inherent variability in ΔR: New methods of presenting ΔR values and implications for MRE studies, Radiocarbon 53(2):277288.
Salmi, A-K, Äikäs, T, Fjellström, M, Spangen, M. 2015. Animal offerings at the Sámi offering site of Unna Saiva – Changing religious practices and human-animal relationships. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 40:1022.
Sayle, KL, Cook, GT, Ascough, PL, Gestsdóttir, H, Derek Hamilton, W, McGovern, TH. 2014. Utilization of δ13C, δ15N, and δ34S analyses to understand 14C dating anomalies within a Late Viking Age community in northeast Iceland. Radiocarbon 56(2):811821.
Sayle, KL, Hamilton, WD, Gestsdóttir, H, Cook, GT. 2016. Modelling Lake Mývatn’s freshwater reservoir effect: Utilisation of the statistical program FRUITS to assist in the re-interpretation of radiocarbon dates from a cemetery at Hofstaðir, north-east Iceland. Quaternary Geochronology 36:111.
Vorren, Ø, Manker, EM. 1976. Samekulturen : en kulturhistorisk oversikt. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.
Wallerström, T. 2017. Kunglig makt och samiska bosättningsmönster: Studier kring Väinö Tanners vinterbyteori. Instituttet for sammenlignende kulturforskning. Serie B. Skrifter CLXV. Oslo: Novus forlag.
Wiklund, KB. 1916. Rounala kyrka. Uppsala: Alm-qvist & Wiksell.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0033-8222
  • EISSN: 1945-5755
  • URL: /core/journals/radiocarbon
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Dury et al. supplementary material
Dury et al. supplementary material 1

 Unknown (2 KB)
2 KB
Supplementary materials

Dury et al. supplementary material
Dury et al. supplementary material 2

 Unknown (2 KB)
2 KB
Supplementary materials

Dury et al. supplementary material
Dury et al. supplementary material 3

 Unknown (9 KB)
9 KB


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed