Radiocarbon dating of the iceman otzi with accelerator mass spectrometry speed dating nights hertfordshire
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 204 (2003) Isotope language of the Alpine Iceman investigated with AMS and MS Walter Kutschera a, *, Wolfgang M uller b,c a Vienna Environmental Research Accelerator, Institute for Isotope Research and Nuclear Physics, University of Vienna, W ahringer Strasse 17, A-1090 Vienna, Austria b Research School of Earth Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra ACT 0200, Australia c Department of Earth Sciences, ETH Z urich, CH-8092 Z urich, Switzerland Abstract This paper reviews the use of stable and radioactive isotopes to elucidate an extraordinary archaeological find, the Alpine Iceman Otzi. It seems likely that the Iceman took this path, if he approached his final resting place from the south. Just below the tip of the ski pole held by Messner one can see the smashed remains of a container made of bark from a birch-tree, probably used to carry equipment for making fire.
In 1991 the body of this man was accidentally discovered in an ice-filled depression at a highaltitude mountain pass (Tisenjoch, 3210 m) of the Otztal Alps. forms the border between Austria (to the north) and Italy (to the south). did not look like belonging to a recently deceased mountain climber.
What is required is the measurement of both the parent 14 C t, and the decay product 14 N (the asterisk indicates W. Recent results indicate very large deviation of D 14 C in the range between 25,000 and 40,000 years ago [15,16]. The radioactive decay of 14 C proceeds through 14 C!
14 N þ e þ m e : ð3þ Since C 0 is always 14 C t 14 N, we can re-write Eq.
The glaciers to the north (left) lead to the Otztal in Austria, whereas the ice-free slopes to the south (right) lead to the Tisental in Italy. Kammerlander holds part of a wooden structure later identified as a carrying support of Otzi.
The photo was taken on 21 August 1989 by Gernot Patzelt from the Institute of High Mountain Research of the University of Innsbruck, two years before the Iceman was discovered.
This location at the Austrian Italian border apparently formed an ancient transition across the Alps from South to North. As the hikers approached a shallow ice-filled depression along the ridge at an altitude of 3210 m (near the Tisenjoch), they were startled by seeing the body of a man sticking halfway out from the ice. Another two days later (on 23 September 1991) the body was recovered from the ice by Rainer Henn from the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Innsbruck, and was flown to his Institute by helicopter.
14 C dating of the body with accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) revealed that the Iceman had lived some 5200 years ago, within the time period from 3370 to 3100 years BC (Before Christ). Unusual climatic conditions in the summer of 1991 (including dust from Sahara resulting in enhanced melting of snow) had partly freed the body from its icy grave. Next day, when Konrad Spindler from the Institute of Preand Protohistory of the University of Innsbruck saw the unusual pieces of equipment found together with the body (in particular the axe with a bronze-like blade), he estimated a very old age (4000 years) of the find.
The originator of the 14 C dating method, Willard Libby , assumed that the cosmic-ray produced 14 C content in the atmosphere is constant in time. 4 the relative deviation of 14 C from a fixed reference value is plotted for the last 40,000 years.
The dating of the Iceman clearly shows the current limitation of an absolute age determination with 14 C due to the variation in the calibration curve.
Why do we need a calibration curve in the first place?
Nevertheless, the 14 C dating result unambiguously established that the Iceman lived before the Bronze Age [ BC], at the end of the Neolithic period.
It also allowed narrowing down the possible Neolithic cultures to the north and to the south of the Alps, from which the Iceman may have originated . Spindler (Eds.), Der Mann im Eis Bericht uber das Internationale Symposium 1992 in Innsbruck, Vol.
We have submitted a proposal to the Archaeological Museum in Bolzano, Italy, to perform such analyses. The large brackets indicate the 95.4% (2r) confidence ranges of BC (34.3%) and BC (61.1%). Beyond 24,000 years, the curve becomes very uncertain (double dashed line in the insert).