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Testing The Accuracy Of 14C Age Data From Pollen Concentrates In The Yangtze Delta, China

Chunhai Li, Yongxiang Li, George S Burr

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In order to test the accuracy of accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dating of pollen, 8 samples of pollen concentrates and 4 bulk organic samples were collected and analyzed from trench T1041 at the Tianluoshan site, Yuyao city, Zhejiang Province. This site was chosen because a reliable chronology had been previously established there based on radiocarbon dates of plant materials. The pollen concentrate samples were measured using AMS 14C and the 4 bulk organic samples were measured by liquid scintillation counting (LSC). The pollen concentrates and bulk organic samples yield ages that are a few hundred years to thousands of years older than those from plant materials, respectively. Contributions from reworked sediments can explain the older ages for the pollen concentrates and sediment organic dates. This study suggests that caution must be exercised when discussing millennial- or centennial-scale climate events based on chronologies that are controlled by age determinations of pollen concentrates.