Skip to main content

No Systematic Early Bias to Mediterranean 14C Ages: Radiocarbon Measurements from Tree-Ring and Air Samples Provide Tight Limits to Age Offsets

  • Sturt W Manning (a1), Mike Barbetti (a2), Bernd Kromer (a3), Peter Ian Kuniholm (a4), Ingeborg Levin (a5), Maryanne W Newton (a6) and Paula J Reimer (a7)...

Existing data and theory do not support a recent assertion that upwelling of old carbon has led to systematically 100–300 yr too old radiocarbon ages for the Mediterranean region. Similarly, the prehistoric tree-ring record produced over 3 decades by the Aegean Dendrochronology Project is shown to provide robust, well-replicated data, contrary to a recent unfounded assertion. 14C and dendrochronology provide an accurate and precise chronometric framework for the Mediterranean region.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      No Systematic Early Bias to Mediterranean 14C Ages: Radiocarbon Measurements from Tree-Ring and Air Samples Provide Tight Limits to Age Offsets
      Available formats
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      No Systematic Early Bias to Mediterranean 14C Ages: Radiocarbon Measurements from Tree-Ring and Air Samples Provide Tight Limits to Age Offsets
      Available formats
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      No Systematic Early Bias to Mediterranean 14C Ages: Radiocarbon Measurements from Tree-Ring and Air Samples Provide Tight Limits to Age Offsets
      Available formats
Hide All
Aldred, C. 1988. Akhenaten: King of Egypt. London: Thames and Hudson.
Baillie, MGL, Pilcher, JR. 1973. A simple crossdating program for tree-ring research, Tree-Ring Bulletin 33: 714.
Betancourt, PP. 1987. Dating the Aegean Late Bronze Age with radiocarbon. Archaeometry 29:4549.
Betancourt, PP. 1998. The chronology of the Aegean Late Bronze Age: unanswered questions. In: Balmuth, MS and Tykot, RH, editors. Sardinian and Aegean chronology: towards the resolution of relative and absolute dating in the Mediterranean, Studies in Sardinian Archaeology V, Oxford: Oxbow. p 291–6.
Betancourt, PP, Lawn, B. 1984. The Cyclades and radiocarbon chronology. In: MacGillivray, JA and Barber, RLN, editors. The prehistoric Cyclades: contributions to a workshop on Cycladic chronology. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh. p 277–95.
Bhushan, R, Krishnaswami, S, Somayajulu, BLK. 1997. 14C in air over the Arabian Sea. Current Science 73: 273–76.
Bonani, G, Haas, H, Hawass, Z, Lehner, M, Nakhla, S, Nolan, J, Wenke, R, Wölfli, W. 2001. Radiocarbon dates of Old and Middle Kingdom monuments in Egypt. Radiocarbon 43(3):12971320.
Broecker, WS, Peng, T-H, Östlund, G, Stuiver, M. 1985. The distribution of bomb radiocarbon in the ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research 90:6953–70.
Bronk Ramsey, C. 1995. Radiocarbon calibration and analysis of stratigraphy: the OxCal program. Radiocarbon 37(2):425–30.
Bronk Ramsey, C. 2001. Development of the radiocarbon calibration program OxCal. Radiocarbon 43:355–64.
Bronk Ramsey, C, van der Plicht, J, Weninger, B. 2001. “Wiggle matching” radiocarbon dates. Radiocarbon 43:381–9.
Bruins, HJ, van der Plicht, J. 1995. Tell Es-Sultan (Jericho): radiocarbon results of short-lived cereal and multiyear charcoal samples from the end of the Middle Bronze Age. Radiocarbon 37(2):213–20.
Bruins, HJ, van der Plicht, , Mazar, A. 2003. 14C dates from Tel Rehov: Iron Age chronology, pharaohs, and Hebrew kings. Science 300:315–8.
Cook, ER, Kairiukstis, LA., editors. 1990. Methods of Dendrochronology: applications in the natural sciences. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers
Damon, PE. 1995. A note concerning “location-dependent differences in the 14C content of wood”. Radiocarbon 37(2):829–30.
Damon, PE, Burr, G, Peristykh, AN, Jacoby, GC, D'Arrigo, RD. 1996. Regional radiocarbon effect due to thawing of frozen earth. Radiocarbon 38(3):597602.
Dutta, K, Bhushan, R, Somayajulu, BLK. 2000a. 14C in archived marine shells from the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Abstracts of the 17th International Radiocarbon Conference, Judean Hills, Israel, 18–23 June 2000. p 93.
Dutta, K, Bhushan, R, Somayajulu, BLK. 2000b. Anthropogenic radiocarbon in Bay of Bengal: Two decades after GEOSECS. Abstracts of the 17th International Radiocarbon Conference, Judean Hills, Israel, 18–23 June 2000, p.97.
Dutta, K, Bhushan, R, Somayajulu, BLK. 2001. ΔR correction values for the northern Indian Ocean. Radiocarbon 43(2A):483–88.
Eckstein, D. 1969. Entwicklung und Anwendung der Dendrochronologie zur Altersbestimmung der Siedlung Haithabu, .
Facorellis, Y, Maniatis, Y, Kromer, B. 1998. Apparent 14C ages of marine mollusc shells from a Greek Island: calculation of the marine reservoir effect in the Aegean Sea. Radiocarbon 40(2):963–73.
Hallager, E. 1988. Final palatial Crete. An essay in Minoan chronology. In: Damsgaard-Madsen, A, Christiansen, E and Hallager, E., editors. Studies in ancient history and numismatics presented to Rudi Thomsen, Aarhus: Aarhus University Press. p 1121.
Hassan, FA, Robinson, SW. 1987. High-precision radiocarbon chronometry of ancient Egypt, and comparisons with Nubia, Palestine and Mesopotamia. Antiquity 61:119–35.
Hogg, AG, McCormac, FG, Higham, TFG, Reimer, PJ, Baillie, MGL, Palmer, J. 2002. High-precision 14C measurements of contemporaneous tree-ring dated wood from the British Isles and New Zealand: AD 1850–950. Radiocarbon (this issue).
Hua, Q, Barbetti, M, Jacobsen, GE, Zoppi, U, Lawson, EM. 2000a. Bomb radiocarbon in annual tree rings from Thailand and Tasmania. In: Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, Vienna, Austria, 6–10 September, 1999. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 172:359–65.
Hua, Q, Barbetti, M, Zoppi, U, Fink, D, Watanasak, M, Jacobsen, GE. 2002. Atmospheric radiocarbon offset for the tropics during the Little Ice Age. The 9th International Conference on Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, Nagoya, Japan, 9–13 September 2002.
Hua, Q, Barbetti, M, Zoppi, U, Lawson, EM. 2000b. Regional reduction of atmospheric 14C by upwelling in the tropical Indian Ocean. Abstracts of the 17th International Radiocarbon Conference, Judean Hills, Israel, 18–23 June 2000. p 161.
Keeling, CD. 1968. Carbon dioxide in surface ocean water 4. Global distribution of pCO2 . Journal of Geophysical Research 73:4543–53.
Keenan, DJ. 2002. Why early-historical radiocarbon dates downwind from the Mediterranean are too early. Radiocarbon 44(1):225–37.
Kemp, BJ. 1984. Amarna Reports I. London: Egypt Exploration Society.
Kemp, BJ. 1987. The Amarna workmen's village in retrospect. Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 73:2150.
Kemp, BJ, Merrillees, RS. 1980. Minoan pottery in second millennium Egypt. Mainz am Rhein: Philipp von Zabern.
Kitchen, KA. 1996a. The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (1100–650 BC). Second revised edition with supplement. Warminster: Aris & Phillips.
Kitchen, KA. 1996b. The historical chronology of ancient Egypt, a current assessment. Acta Archaeologica 67: 113.
Kitchen, KA. 2000. Regnal and genealogical data of Ancient Egypt (Absolute Chronology I). The historical chronology of Ancient Egypt, a current assessment. In: Bietak, M, editor. The synchronisation of civilisations in the Eastern Mediterranean in the second millennium B.C. Vienna: Austrian Academy. p 3952.
Kitchen, KA. 2002. Ancient Egyptian chronology for Aegeanists. Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 2(2):512.
Knox, FB, McFadgen, BG. 2001. Least-squares fitting smooth curves to decadal radiocarbon calibration data from AD 1145 to 1945. Radiocarbon 43(1):87118. (Corrections Radiocarbon 44(1):395).
Korfmann, M, Kromer, B. 1993. Demircihüyük, Besik-Tepe, Troia—Eine Zwischenbilanz zur Chronologie dreier Orte in Westanatolien. Studia Troica 3:135–71.
Kromer, B, Korfmann, M, Jablonka, P. 2002. Heidelberg radiocarbon dates for Troia I to VIII and Kumtepe. In: Wagner, GA, Pernicka, E, Uerpmann, H-P, editors. Troia and the Troad: scientific approaches. Berlin: Springer.
Kromer, B, Manning, SW, Kuniholm, PI, Newton, MW, Spurk, M, Levin, I. 2001. Regional 14CO2 offsets in the troposphere: magnitude, mechanisms, and consequences. Science 294:2529–32.
Kuniholm, PI. 1977. Dendrochronology at Gordion and the Anatolian Plateau. , University of Pennsylvania. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International.
Kuniholm, PI. 1993. A date-list for Bronze Age and Iron Age monuments based on combined dendrochronological and radiocarbon evidence. In: Mellink, MJ, Porada, E, Özgüç, T, editors. Aspects of art and iconography: Anatolia and its neighbours. Studies in honor of Nimet Özgüç, Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu. p 371–3.
Kuniholm, PI. 1994. Long tree-ring chronologies for the eastern Mediterranean. Archaeometry 94: The Proceedings of the 29th International Symposium on Archaeometry. Ankara: TÜBITAK. p 401–9.
Kuniholm, PI. 1996. The prehistoric Aegean: dendrochronological progress as of 1995. Acta Archaeologica 67:327–35.
Kuniholm, PI, Striker, CL. 1982. Dendrochronological investigations in the Aegean and neighboring regions, 1977–1982. Journal of Field Archaeology 10:411–20.
Kuniholm, PI, Striker, CL. 1987. Dendrochronological investigations in the Aegean and neighboring regions, 1983–1986. Journal of Field Archaeology 14:385–98.
Kuniholm, PI, Tarter, SL, Griggs, CB. 1993. Dendrochronological report. In: Summers, GD, editor. Tille Höyük 4, 179–90. Ankara: The British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara.
Kuniholm, PI, Tarter, SL, Newton, MW, Griggs, CB. 1992. Preliminary report on dendrochronological investigations at Porsuk/Ulukisla, Turkey 1987–1989. Syria 69: 379–89.
Lehner, M, Nakhla, S, Hawass, Z, Bonani, G, Wölfli, W, Haas, H, Wenke, R, Nolan, J, Wetterstrom, W. 1999. Dating the pyramids. Archaeology 52(5):2633.
Levin, I, Hesshaimer, V. 2000. Radiocarbon—a unique tracer of global carbon cycle dynamics. Radiocarbon 42(1):6980.
Levin, I, Kromer, B, Barabas, M, Münnich, K. 1987. Carbon isotope measurements of atmospheric CO2 at a coastal station in Antarctica. Tellus 39B:8995.
Manning, SW. 1995. The absolute chronology of the Aegean Early Bronze Age: archaeology, history and radiocarbon. Monographs in Mediterranean Archaeology 1. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.
Manning, SW. 1997. Troy, radiocarbon, and the chronology of the northeast Aegean in the Early Bronze Age. In: Doumas, CG, La Rosa, V, editors. H KAI H: Athens: Scuola Archeologica Italiana di Atene. p 498520.
Manning, SW. 1999. A test of time: the volcano of Thera and the chronology and history of the Aegean and east Mediterranean in the mid-second millennium BC. Oxford: Oxbow Books.
Manning, SW, Bronk Ramsey, C, Doumas, C, Marketou, T, Cadogan, G, Pearson, CL. 2002. New evidence for an early date for the Aegean Late Bronze Age and Thera eruption. Antiquity 76:733–44.
Manning, SW, Kromer, B, Kuniholm, PI, Newton, MW. 2001. Anatolian tree-rings and a new chronology for the east Mediterranean Bronze-Iron Ages. Science 294:2532–5.
Manning, SW, Kromer, B, Kuniholm, PI, Newton, MW. 2003. Confirmation of near-absolute dating of east Mediterranean Bronze-Iron Dendrochronology. Antiquity 77 (25 March, 2003) at:
Manning, SW, Weninger, B. 1992. A light in the dark: archaeological wiggle matching and the absolute chronology of the close of the Aegean Late Bronze Age. Antiquity 66:636–63.
Manning, SW, Weninger, B, South, AK, Kling, B, Kuniholm, PI, Muhly, JD, Hadjisavvas, S, Sewell, DA, Cadogan, G. 2001. Absolute age range of the Late Cypriot IIC period on Cyprus. Antiquity 75:328–40.
McCormac, FG, Baillie, MGL, Pilcher, JR, Kalin, RM. 1995. Location-dependent differences in the 14C content of wood. Radiocarbon 37(2):395407.
McCormac, FG, Hogg, AG, Higham, TGF, Lynch-Stieglitz, J, Broecker, WS, Baillie, MGL, Palmer, J, Xiong, L, Pilcher, JR, Brown, D, Hoper, ST. 1998. Temporal variation in the interhemispheric 14C offset. Geophysical Research Letters 25:1321–24.
Mercone, D, Thomson, J, Croudace, IW, Siani, G, Paterne, M, Troelstra, S. 2000. Duration of S1, the most recent sapropel in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, as indicated by accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon and geochemical evidence. Paleoceanography 15:336–47.
Moran, W. 1992. The Amarna letters. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Murnane, WJ. 1995. Texts from the Amarna period in Egypt. Atlanta: Scholars Press.
Pearson, GW, Pilcher, JR, Baillie, MGL, Corbet, DM, Qua, F. 1986. High precision 14C measurements of Irish oaks to show the natural 14C variations from AD 1840–5210 BC. Radiocarbon 28:911–34.
Rawlins, D, Pickering, K, Spence, K. 2001. Astronomical orientation of the pyramids. Nature 412:699700.
Reimer, PJ, McCormac, FG. 2002. Marine radiocarbon reservoir corrections for the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas. Radiocarbon 44(1):159–66.
Rohl, D. 1985. A test of time. The Bible—from myth to history. London: Century.
Rozanski, K, Levin, I, Stock, J, Falcon, REG, Rubio, F. 1995. Atmospheric 14C variations in the Equatorial region. Radiocarbon 37(2):509–15.
Schmidt, B. 1987. Dendrochronologie und Ur- und Frühgeschicht. . p 1355.
Shaw, IM. 1985. Egyptian chronology and the Irish oak calibration. Journal of Near Eastern Studies 44:295317.
Siani, G, Paterne, M, Arnold, M, Bard, E, Metivier, B, Tisnerat, N, Bassinot, F. 2000. Radiocarbon reservoir ages in the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea. Radiocarbon 42(2):271–80.
Siani, G, Paterne, M, Michel, E, Sulpizio, R, Sbrana, A, Arnold, M, Haddad, G. 2001. Mediterranean Sea surface radiocarbon reservoir age changes since the last glacial maximum. Science 294:1917–20.
Southon, J, Kashgarian, M, Fontugne, M, Metivier, B, Yim, WWS. 2002. Marine reservoir corrections for the Indian Ocean and southeast Asia. Radiocarbon 44(1): 167–80.
Spence, K. 2000. Ancient Egyptian chronology and the astronomical orientation of pyramids. Nature 408: 320–4.
Stanley, DJ. 2000. Radiocarbon dating the artificially contained surfaces of the Rhône deltaic plain, southern France. Journal of Coastal Research 16:1157–61.
Stanley, DJ, Hait, AK. 2000. Deltas, radiocarbon dating, and measurements of sediment storage and subsidence. Geology 28(4):295–8.
Stuiver, M, Braziunas, TF. 1993. Modeling atmospheric 14C influences and 14C ages of marine samples to 10,000 BC. Radiocarbon 35(1):137–89.
Stuiver, M, Braziunas, TF 1998. Anthropogenic and solar components of hemispheric 14C. Geophysical Research Letters 25:329–32.
Stuiver, M, Östlund, HG. 1983. GEOSECS Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Radiocarbon. Radiocarbon 25(1): 129.
Stuiver, M, Reimer, PJ, Braziunas, TF. 1998. High-precision radiocarbon age calibration for terrestrial and marine samples. Radiocarbon 40(3): 1127–51.
Stuiver, M, Reimer, PJ, Bard, E, Beck, JW, Burr, GS, Hughen, KA, Kromer, B, McCormac, G, van der Plicht, J, Spurk, M. 1998. INTCAL98 radiocarbon age calibration, 24,000-0 cal BP Radiocarbon 40(3):1041–83.
Tans, PP et al. 1996. Carbon cycle. In: Hofmann, DJ, Peterson, JT, Rosson, RM, editors. Summary report 1994–1995, Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory No. 23. NOAA: DOE. p 2949.
Thomson, J, Mercone, D, de Lange, GJ, van Santvoort, PJM. 1999. Review of recent advances in the interpretation of eastern Mediterranean sapropel S1 from geochemical evidence. Marine Geology 153:7789.
van Geel, B, van der Plicht, J, Kilian, MR, Klaver, ER, Kouwenberg, JHM, Renssen, H, Reynaud-Farrera, I, Waterbolk, HT. 1998. The sharp rise of Δ14C ca. 800 cal BC: Possible causes, related climatic teleconnections and the impact on human environments. Radiocarbon 40(1):535–50 (Corrections Radiocarbon 40(3):1163–4).
Veenhof, KR. 2000. Old Assyrian chronology. Akkadica 119–120:137–50.
Vergnaud-Grazzini, C, Caralp, M, Faugeres, JC, Gonthier, E, Grousset, F, Pujol, C, Saliege, JF. 1989. Mediterranean outflow through the Strait of Gibraltar since 18000 Years BP. Oceanologica Acta 12:305–24.
von Beckerath, J. 1994. Chronologie des ägyptischen Neuen Reiches, Hildesheimer ägyptologische Beiträge 39. Hildesheim: Gerstenberg Verlag.
von Beckerath, J. 1997. Chronologie des pharaonischen Ägypten. Die Zeitbestimmung der ägyptischen Geschichte von der Vorzeit bis 332 v. Chr. Mainz: Philipp von Zabern.
Weninger, B. 1990. Theoretical radiocarbon discrepancies. In: Hardy, DA and Renfrew, AC, editors. Thera and the Aegean world III. Volume three: chronology. London: The Thera Foundation. p 216–31.
Weninger, B. 1997. Studien zur dendrochronologischen Kalibration von archäologischen 14C-Daten. Bonn: Dr. Rudolf Habelt.
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? *


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