Improving the radiocarbon dating technique

Research undertaken at the Waikato Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory, in collaboration with scientists around the world, has included investigations into improving the accuracy and precision of radiocarbon dates.

We have made considerable efforts to find suitable background standards and now have ancient wood, charcoal, and bone standards to improve the dating accuracy of these types of samples. Many other labs continue to use inappropriate background standards, such as dead graphite or coal. In addition, Alan Hogg has optimised the protocols for obtaining high precision radiometric dates, and pushed the dating limit beyond 55,000 radiocarbon years.

Selected publications:

  • Hogg A, C Turney, J Palmer, J Southon, B Kromer, C Bronk Ramsey, G Boswijk, P Fenwick, A Noronha, R Staff, M Friedrich, L Reynard, D Guetter, L Wacker, R Jones, 2013. The New Zealand kauri (Agathis Australis) research project: A radiocarbon dating Intercomparison of Younger Dryas wood and implications for IntCal. Radiocarbon, 55(4): doi:10.2458/azu_js_rc.v55i2.16217.
  • Hogg, A, J Palmer, G Boswijk, P Reimer, D Brown, 2009. Investigating the interhemispheric 14C offset in the 1st Millennium AD and assessment of laboratory bias and calculation errors. Radiocarbon, 51 (4):1177-1186.
  • Hogg, A.G., L.K. Fifield, J.G. Palmer, C.S.M. Turney and R. Galbraith, 2007. Robust radiocarbon dating of wood samples by high-sensitivity liquid scintillation spectroscopy in the 50-70kyr age range. Radiocarbon, 49(2):379-391.
  • Hogg, A.G., L.K. Fifield, C.S.M. Turney, J.G. Palmer, R. Galbraith and M.G.K. Baillie, 2006. Dating ancient wood by high sensitivity liquid scintillation counting and accelerator mass spectrometry - Pushing the boundaries. Quaternary Geochronology, 1:241-248.