Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage

Brussels, Belgium

Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage

Brussels, Belgium
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Verhegge J.,Ghent University | Missiaen T.,Ghent University | Van Strydonck M.,Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage | Crombe P.,Ghent University
Radiocarbon | Year: 2014

The Mesolithic-Neolithic transition in the wetland margins of the southern North Sea basin occurred well over a millennium after the transition in neighboring loess regions. This article investigates the possible role of hydrological dynamics in the presence of the last hunter-gatherer-fishermen in these wetland regions. A Bayesian modeling approach is used to integrate stratigraphic information and radiocarbon dates both from accurately datable archaeological remains and key horizons in peat sequences in the Scheldt floodplain of northwestern Belgium. This study tests whether the Swifterbant occupation of the study area was contemporaneous with hiatuses in peat growth caused by organic clastic sedimentation due to increased tidal influences and local groundwater rise. The results suggest that the appearance of this culture followed shortly after the emergence of a brackish tidal mudflat landscape replacing a freshwater marsh. © 2014 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona.


Boudin M.,Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage | Van Strydonck M.,Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage | Van Den Brande T.,Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage | Synal H.-A.,ETH Zurich | Wacker L.,ETH Zurich
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms | Year: 2015

Since 1989 the radiocarbon dating lab has their own graphitization system for 14C AMS dating but RICH (Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage) did not possess their own AMS and measurements were carried out in collaboration with other AMS facilities. In April 2013 the Micadas (Mini Carbon Dating System) AMS was installed at RICH in Brussels and after 1.5 year operation the high stability and performance of the Micadas can be demonstrated by repeated analyses of primary standard OXA II and secondary standards. Results of unknown samples measured on the RICH-Micadas and on other AMS systems are in good agreement. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.All rights reserved.


van Strydonck M.,Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage | Boudin M.,Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage | de Mulder G.,Ghent University
Radiocarbon | Year: 2010

In order to reveal a possible carbon exchange between carbon dioxide of the fuel and the bone apatite during the cremation process an experiment was set up using fossil fuel. Two setups were constructed, one using natural gas and one using coal. In both experiments, a carbon substitution in the apatite was revealed. © 2010 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona.


Van Strydonck M.,Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage | Benazeth D.,Section copte
Radiocarbon | Year: 2014

Dating of Coptic textiles performed in the early days of the radiocarbon dating method was revisited. In 1957-1958, Louvre curator and art historian P du Bourguet had 4 Coptic textiles 14C dated by the Saclay laboratory. The results were rejected, not because of the large standard deviation (>100 yr), but because their ages did not support his chronological framework based on typological comparison. Furthermore, textiles with comparable ages were dated several centuries apart. As a result of this investigation, for many decades art historians rejected 14C as a dating tool for Coptic textiles. Re-examination of the old data and new 14C analyses revealed that mistakes were made, both in the reporting as in the interpretation of the data and that the textiles are much older than presumed. © 2014 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona.


Boudin M.,Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage | Boudin M.,Ghent University | Boeckx P.,Ghent University | Vandenabeele P.,Ghent University | And 2 more authors.
Radiocarbon | Year: 2011

Radiocarbon dating of degraded wool and silk provides 14C results of questionable reliability. In most cases, degraded wool/silk contains humic substances (HSs). Thus, a nondestructive fluorescence spectroscopy method, using a fiberoptic probe, was developed to monitor the presence of HSs in degraded wool and silk. This method can provide information about the presence of HSs before and after pretreatment and about the 14C age reliability. This study suggests considering with care wool/silk samples 14C dating wherein HSs are detected, because the conventional solvent pretreatment method using a NaOH wash is in most cases not sufficient to remove all humic substance contaminants. As a result, unreliable 14C dates can be provided © 2011 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona.


Boudin M.,Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage | Boeckx P.,Ghent University | Vandenabeele P.,Ghent University | Van Strydonck M.,Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage
Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry | Year: 2013

RATIONALE Radiocarbon dating and stable isotope analyses of bone collagen, wool, hair and silk contaminated with extraneous carbon (e.g. humic substances) does not yield reliable results if these materials are pre-treated using conventional methods. METHODS A cross-flow nanofiltration method was developed that can be applied to various protein materials like collagen, hair, silk, wool and leather, and should be able to remove low-molecular and high-molecular weight contaminants. To avoid extraneous carbon contamination via the filter a ceramic filter (molecular weight cut-off of 200 Da) was used. The amino acids, released by hot acid hydrolysis of the protein material, were collected in the permeate and contaminants in the retentate (>200 Da). RESULTS 14C-dating results for various contaminated archaeological samples were compared for bulk material (pre-treated with the conventional methods) and for cross-flow nanofiltrated amino acids (permeate) originating from the same samples. Contamination and quality control of 14C dates of bulk and permeate samples were obtained by measuring C:N ratios, fluorescence spectra, and δ13C and δ15N values of the samples. Cross-flow nanofiltration decreases the C:N ratio which means that contaminants have been removed. CONCLUSIONS Cross-flow nanofiltration clearly improved sample quality and 14C results. It is a quick and non-labor-intensive technique and can easily be implemented in any 14C and stable isotope laboratory for routine sample pre-treatment analyses. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


De Mulder G.,Ghent University | van Strydonck M.,Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage | De Clercq W.,Ghent University
Radiocarbon | Year: 2013

A Brandgrubengrab entails a specific way of depositing human remains whereby the cremated remains of the deceased and other remnants of the funeral pyre, such as charcoal and burnt objects, are jointly deposited onto the bottom of a pit. This type of burial became increasingly popular during the Late Iron Age and the Roman period, when it was the main basic funerary structure used in western Flanders. In recent years, more attention has been paid to establishing a more precise chronology for these funerary structures by applying radiocarbon dating. A set of 40 14C dates obtained from samples originating from small cemeteries and isolated cremations now offers new insights in the development of this specific cremation burial ritual. © 2013 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona.


Crombe P.,Ghent University | Robinson E.,Ghent University | Van Strydonck M.,Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage | Boudin M.,Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage
Archaeometry | Year: 2013

This paper discusses the problems with sampling materials and sampled contexts in the framework of radiocarbon dating of Mesolithic sites situated in generally dry, acid and bioturbated coversand deposits within north-western Europe. The case studies presented all relate to the coversand regions of northern Belgium and the Netherlands, two areas for which very large sets of radiocarbon dates performed on different organic components are currently available. The study points out that charred hazelnut shells from surface hearths and charcoal from hearth pits guarantee the most secure dating results, while the dating of calcined bones and food crusts from Final Mesolithic pottery so far remains problematic. © University of Oxford, 2012.


De Mulder G.,Ghent University | Van Strydonck M.,Ghent University | Annaert R.,Flemish Heritage Institute | Boudin M.,Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage
Radiocarbon | Year: 2012

Radiocarbon dating of cremated bone is a well-established practice in the study of prehistoric cremation cemeteries since the introduction of the method in the late 1990s. 14C dates on the Late Bronze Age urnfield and Merovingian cemetery at Borsbeek in Belgium shed new light on Merovingian funerary practices. Inhumation was the dominant funerary rite in this period in the Austrasian region. In the Scheldt Valley, however, some cremations are known, termed Brandgruben-gräber, which consist of the deposition of a mix of cremated bone and the remnants from the pyre in the grave pit. 14C dates from Borsbeek show that other ways of deposition of cremated bone in this period existed. In both cases, bones were selected from the pyre and wrapped in an organic container before being buried. Recent excavation and 14C dates from another Merovingian cemetery at Broechem confirmed the information about the burial rites and chronology from Borsbeek. This early Medieval practice of cremation rituals seems an indication of new arrivals of colonists from northern regions where cremation remained the dominant funerary rite. Another case at Borsbeek shows the reuse of a Late Bronze Age urn in the Merovingian period. This practice is known from Viking burials in Scandinavia, but was not ascertained until now in Flanders. © 2012 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona.


Doetterl S.,Ghent University | Doetterl S.,University of Augsburg | Stevens A.,Catholic University of Leuven | Stevens A.,ETH Zurich | And 9 more authors.
Nature Geoscience | Year: 2015

Soils are an important site of carbon storage. Climate is generally regarded as one of the primary controls over soil organic carbon, but there is still uncertainty about the direction and magnitude of carbon responses to climate change. Here we show that geochemistry, too, is an important controlling factor for soil carbon storage. We measured a range of soil and climate variables at 24 sites along a 4,000-km-long north-south transect of natural grassland and shrubland in Chile and the Antarctic Peninsula, which spans a broad range of climatic and geochemical conditions. We find that soils with high carbon content are characterized by substantial adsorption of carbon compounds onto mineral soil and low rates of respiration per unit of soil carbon; and vice versa for soils with low carbon content. Precipitation and temperature were only secondary predictors for carbon storage, respiration, residence time and stabilization mechanisms. Correlations between climatic variables and carbon variables decreased significantly after removing relationships with geochemical predictors. We conclude that the interactions of climatic and geochemical factors control soil organic carbon storage and turnover, and must be considered for robust prediction of current and future soil carbon storage. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

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