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Amino acid geochronology of the type Cromerian of West Runton, Norfolk, UK

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JournalQuaternary International
DatePublished - 1 Dec 2010
Issue number1-2
Volume228
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)25-37
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Aminostratigraphic studies of continental deposits in the UK have hitherto relied almost exclusively on data from the aragonitic shells of non-marine molluscs for dating Pleistocene sequences. This is usually based on the D/L value of a single amino acid, D-alloisoleucine/L-isoleucine (A/I), in the total shell proteins. Two genera of freshwater gastropods (Valvata and Bithynia) are used to explore the value of using multiple amino acids from the intra-crystalline fraction, which should be more protected from the effects of diagenesis than the inter-crystalline component. Results are compared from both the aragonitic shells and opercula composed of calcite, a more stable form of calcium carbonate. In order to put the amino acid data from the West Runton Freshwater Bed into perspective, statistical analyses are used to compare them with results from the Hoxnian (MIS 11) site at Clacton-on-Sea, Essex. Twelve protein decomposition indicators revealed that the results from the shells were not as clear-cut as those from the opercula. Five indicators from the Valvata shell suggest that West Runton is older than Clacton (at a 95% significance level), but two actually suggested a younger age. Seven indicators show that the Bithynia shells from West Runton are older than congeneric shells from Clacton. In marked contrast, all 12 indicators isolated from the opercula demonstrate that West Runton is significantly older than Clacton. The data are also compared with results from Waverley Wood, an important archaeological site in the English Midlands falling within the 'Cromerian Complex'. Contrary to earlier interpretations, the new amino acid data from Bithynia opercula indicate that West Runton is older than Waverley Wood, a relationship now consistent with the available biostratigraphy. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA. All rights reserved.

    Research areas

  • LOWER PALEOLITHIC SITE, EARLY MIDDLE-PLEISTOCENE, EAST-FARM, WAVERLEY WOOD, SUFFOLK, ENGLAND, DEPOSITS, BARNHAM, EXCAVATIONS, EUROPE

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