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February/March 1998

AMS Injector  During factory tests of NEC's latest high-throughput, high-precision AMS system, the schedule allowed us to run true 14C unknowns just before the scheduled ship date.  This NEC AMS system is equipped with the MC-SNICS source.  Of particular interest were the unknown samples obtained from the Indus River region in Pakistan.

The samples were collected by Dr. Jonathan M. Kenoyer of the Harappa Archaeological Research Project  from Trench 39 on Mound AB at the site of Harappa, Pakistan.  This site is one of the largest cities of the Indus Valley Civilization and its importance to archaeology was explained in some detail in the science section of the February 10, 1998 New York Times.  Harappa has a complete sequence of prehistoric occupations spanning the time periods from approximately 3500 B.C. to 1700 B.C.  The most recent carbon samples have been collected from a newly discovered sector of the pre-urban settlement that may represent the earliest occupation of the site.

Approximately 2 milligrams per cathode of material prepared by Dr. David McJunkin of the University of Wisconsin was loaded into the MC-SNICS source.  Approximately 120,000 14C events were collected with a precision of 0.3%.  Based on machine precision only, the age of the sample was determined to be 4980 ± 30 years BP.  This is consistent with the location of the sample which was a hearth in the pre-urban development sequence of the Harappa site.

The AMS system, NEC's third 15SDH-2 Pelletron AMS system, has been shipped and installation is now underway.

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