Improving Radiocarbon Dating with Ancient DNA Analysis

Author(s): Jakob Sedig

Year: 2017


Recent advances in ancient DNA (aDNA) analysis have helped to shed new light on long-standing archaeological questions. Researchers can now study how elites and commoners may have been genetically related, the genetic heritage of the first migrants to a particular area, how ancient populations are related to modern groups, and more. While such revelations have been of critical importance to archaeology, results from recent analyses have implicated that ancient DNA analyses can also be applied to methodological issues in archaeology. In particular, by identifying the relatedness of two or more individuals, aDNA analyses can sometimes be used to improve the dating of specimens and/or sites. This paper discusses recent aDNA research that has identified multiple sets of ancient individuals who are first-degree relatives (parent-offspring or siblings), but have a difference of 100 years or more in radiocarbon age ranges. These case studies are then used to examine how aDNA analysis can be used in to supplement radiocarbon dating in three particular ways: by identifying the need for the re-dating of samples; to help tighten the radiocarbon age ranges for individuals and sites; and possibly help calibrate the radiocarbon curve.

Cite this Record

Improving Radiocarbon Dating with Ancient DNA Analysis. Jakob Sedig. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430570)

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Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16066