Encyclopedia of Scientific Dating Methods

Living Edition
| Editors: W. Jack Rink, Jeroen Thompson

Carbonates, Speleothem Archaeological (U-Series)

  • Dirk Hoffmann
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6326-5_243-1


Archaeological carbonate speleothems: Deposits of secondary carbonate minerals (usually calcite or aragonite consisting of CaCO3) that formed in caves containing artefacts or other evidence of past human or hominid occupation


U-series dating such as U-Th (or 230Th/U) is a well-established, accurate, and precise method with a wide range of applications in earth sciences, palaeoclimate research, and archaeology (Bourdon et al. 2003). U-series dating can be used to determine the age of materials that formed with a well-constrained radioactive disequilibrium between U and its daughter isotopes, including precipitates of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in cave environments, i.e., speleothems like stalagmites, stalactites, or flowstones. U-series dating is essential for palaeoclimate research using speleothems but is less commonly used for archaeological applications. However, cave environments are often associated with archaeology and archaeological finds. Excavations in...


Inductively Couple Plasma Mass Spectrometry Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry Drip Water Archaeological Find Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometer 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human EvolutionMax Planck Institute for Evolutionary AnthropologyLeipzigGermany