Mortar dating using AMS 14C and sequential dissolution: Examples from medieval, non-hydraulic lime mortars from the Åland Islands, SW Finland

Alf Lindroos*, Jan Heinemeier, Åsa Ringbom, Mats Braskén, Árny Sveinbjörnsdóttir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Non-hydraulic mortars contain datable binder carbonate with a direct relation to the time when it was used in a building, but they also contain contaminants that disturb radiocarbon dating attempts. The most relevant contaminants either have a geological provenance and age or they can be related to delayed carbonate formation or devitrification and recrystallization of the mortar. We studied the mortars using cathodoluminescence (CL), mass spectrometry (MS), and accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) in order to identify, characterize, and date different generations of carbonates. The parameters- dissolution rate, 13C/12C and 18O/16O ratios, and 14C age-were measured or calculated from experiments where the mortars were dissolved in phosphoric acid and each successive CO2 increment was collected, analyzed, and dated. Consequently, mortar dating comprises a CL characterization of the sample and a CO2 evolution pressure curve, a 14C age, and stable isotope profiles from at least 5 successive dissolution increments representing nearly total dissolution. The data is used for modeling the interfering effects of the different carbonates on the binder carbonate age. The models help us to interpret the 14C age profiles and identify CO2 increments that are as uncontaminated as possible. The dating method was implemented on medieval and younger mortars from churches in the Åland Archipelago between Finland and Sweden. The results are used to develop the method for a more general and international use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-67
Number of pages21
JournalRadiocarbon
Volume49
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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