AMS Radiocarbon Dating of Museum Objects
Dr. Greg Hodgins
National Science Foundation
Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (NSF-Arizona AMS) Laboratory University
December 12, 2007
About the Lecture:
Most archaeologists have a working knowledge of radiocarbon dating. This knowledge is less common among museum curators, conservators and preservation scientists whose collections may not be defined as archaeological, but nevertheless contain dateable materials. The National Science Foundation-University of Arizona Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (NFS-Arizona AMS) Laboratory is the premier center for archaeological radiocarbon dating in the United States, having performed measurements on the Shroud of Turin, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Vinland Map, the Gospel of Judas, and many documents in private collections. This talk will outline how radiocarbon dating is performed using AMS, including a discussion of how 14C measurements are translated into calendar dates. Conventional applications for dating museum objects will be presented, including the dating of papyrus and parchment documents. In addition, AMS can be used to detect 20th Century forgeries of art and artifacts purportedly created before 1955 based on the detection of atomic bomb-derived 14C, which can, in some cases, date objects at plus or minus one year's resolution. The application of this approach to works on paper and photographs will be discussed.
About the Speaker:
Dr. Greg Hodgins is an Assistant Research Scientist, and an Assistant Professor of Anthropology, at the National Science Foundation -- Arizona Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (NSF-Arizona AMS) Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto, a Master of Science in Biochemistry from Cornell University, and a PhD from Oxford University's Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art. He was a recipient of a Mellon Foundation Fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Samuel H. Kress Foundation and Wingate Foundation Fellowships in Conservation Science at Oxford University. Dr. Hodgins's research focuses on the development of new methods and applications of 14C measurements, including compound-specific radiocarbon dating, radiocarbon dating of architectural mortars and plasters, the development of 14C methods in forensic science, and radiocarbon dating of museum objects.