Marine shell is routinely dated by archaeologists and geologists conducting research throughout the Pacific.The use of the modeled marine reservoir curve (Stuiver et al. 1998) with associated regional offsets (known as ΔR), has been widely accepted as the most accurate method for calibrating shallow marine carbonates. Unfortunately, our understanding of regional ΔR variation is limited and there are few published ΔR results for Oceania (for a list of published ΔR values visit the Marine Reservoir Correction Database on line: http://radiocarbon.pa.qub.ac.uk/marine). Moreover, marine shell radiocarbon determinations can be difficult to interpret because they may incorporate radiocarbon from a range of carbon reservoirs depending on habitat and dietary preferences of individual shellfish.
For more information about ΔR and marine reservoir radiocarbon corrections see Marine reservoir corrections, an overview.
The Oceania Marine Reservoir Dating Project has been designed to broaden our knowledge of ΔR variation within the Oceania region. Drs Alan Hogg and Fiona Petchey (Waikato Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory), in conjunction with Professor Atholl Anderson (Australian National University) and Dr Sean Ulm (University of Queensland) are coordinating the search for funding and suitable shell specimens. The project draws on the expertise of key archaeologists, geologists and radiocarbon specialists currently involved in research in the Pacific.