Radiocarbon dating the Devensian Lateglacial in Britain: New evidence from Llanilid, South Wales

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Abstract

Radiocarbon dates are described from a section through Lateglacial and early Flandrian sediments at Llanilid, Mid-Glamorgan, South Wales. Comparisons between age determinations on the alkali soluble (humic) and alkali insoluble (humin) organic fractions from 12 biostratigraphic horizons reveal the extent of contamination by both older and younger carbon residues. The Llanilid time-scale suggests that for the Lateglacial, the earliest organic sediments date from around 13 200 yr BP, the early Interstadial Juniperus maximum occurred at ca. 12 400-12 500 yr BP with a marked decline some 200 years later, the main Betula phase lasted only from ca. 11 700 to 11 400 yr BP and the end of the Interstadial occurred around 11 100 yr BP. The beginning of the Flandrian dates from ca. 10 000 yr BP, the Juniperus maximum occurred approximately 200 years later, the expansion of birch woodland began around 9600 yr BP, while the first hazel arrived in the area at ca. 9300 yr BP. These age determinations are discussed in the context of radiocarbon dates from comparable biostratigraphic horizons in western Britain and the dating of Lateglacial events in the ocean core records from the North Atlantic.

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