Cation-Ratio and Accelerator Radiocarbon Dating of Rock Varnish on Mojave Artifacts and Landforms

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Science  21 Feb 1986:
Vol. 231, Issue 4740, pp. 830-833
DOI: 10.1126/science.231.4740.830


The first accelerator radiocarbon dates of rock varnishes are reported along with potassium/argon ages of lava flows and conventional radiocarbon dates of pluvial lake shorelines, in an empirical calibration of rock varnish K+ + Ca2+/Ti4+ ratios with age in the Mojave Desert, eastern California. This calibration was used to determine the cation-ratio dates of 167 artifacts. Although cation-ratio dating is an experimental method, some dates suggest human occupation of the Mojave Desert in the late Pleistocene.