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Of particular interest and complexity are the so-called reservoir effects, which result in apparent ages that are too old. This is of particular concern to archaeologists, as aquatic resources were an important contribution to human nutrition in Northern Europe, from Mesolithic hunter-gatherer-fishers to medieval Christians.One of the basic assumptions in radiocarbon dating is that a sample incorporates carbon in equilibrium with the atmosphere. The marine reservoir effect is well-acknowledged among archaeologists, although the knee-jerk subtraction of 400 years from radiocarbon dates of marine samples might be too simplistic in some cases.Modern samples of water, aquatic plants, fish and shellfish from the rivers Alster and Trave have been collected.Archaeological samples were provided from the Late Mesolithic sites of Kayhude/Alster and Schlamersdorf/Trave.HCl-pretreatment was therefore not considered necessary. A modified Longin-procedure with ultrafiltration was used ) in two parallel boreholes at a water depth of 390 cm below present sea level (bpsl).The sediments consist of homogenous grey-brown marine clay gyttja.This will provide an overview of use to archaeologists who consider dating materials which may be affected by a FRE. Here, the short-term variability of the freshwater reservoir effect in the rivers Alster and Trave is measured.
The aim of this study is to examine the order of magnitude and degree of variability of the freshwater reservoir effect over short and long timescales.Here, freshwater influence causes reservoir ages to vary between 250 and 700 C years during the period 5400 BC - AD 700.The examples in this study show clearly that the freshwater reservoir effect can seriously corrupt radiocarbon dating at inland sites.The moraines have calcium carbonate contents of up to 20% ( for details on the study area).In the same region, the impact of the freshwater reservoir effect on radiocarbon dating of pottery was studied.