Gerard Barrett
  • Room 0G.048 - 42 Fitzwilliam Street

    United Kingdom

20072022

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Research Interests

I manage the operation, optimization and maintenance of the accelerator mass spectrometer (MICADAS) at 14CHRONO.  I am also responsible for operation, research and development of the ramped pyroxidation system, including its application to novel materials and uses.

Along with continual efforts to improve the accuracy and precision of the radiocarbon dates produced at 14CHRONO,  additional research interests focus on the application of scientific methods to archaeology with special emphasis on dating methods and their use in relation to ceramics, building materials and chronology building.  These are best summarised as follows:

  • Mortar dating: the development of new methods (RPO) for the radiocarbon dating of carbon dioxide trapped in lime based mortars when they originally set.  This can potentially provide the most robust means of dating a building phase at an archaeological site.

 

  • Dating conserved artefacts:  A high percentage of organic cultural artefacts in museums or other institutions have been treated with preservatives/consolidants to protect/strengthen the object.  This often renders it difficult or impossible to accurately date these artefacts using conventional radiocarbon techniques.  Methods are being developed, using RPO, to successfully date difficult materials. 

 

  • Rehydroxylation dating: continued assessment of the potential exploitation of the mass gain properties of fired clay ceramics to the dating of ceramics of known/unknown age.  Understanding the nature of molecular water reabsorbed during rehydroxylation/rehydration is fundamental to this.

 

  • The origin, nature, and chronology of the earliest fired clay ceramics (including pottery and bricks) globally.

 

  • The application of radiocarbon dating to ceramics and construction materials such as bricks and mortars.

 

  • The conditions, nature and chronology of the Mesolithic – Neolithic transitions in Europe, with special emphasis on Ireland and NW Europe.

 

  • The use and interpretation of radiocarbon dates more generally in chronology building (i.e. Bayesian methods and the use of probability distribution functions) and the nature/timing of transitions between defined cultural/technological periods.   

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