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Freshwater reservoir offsets (FROs) occur when AMS dates on charred, encrusted food residues on pottery predate a pot’s chronological context because of the presence of ancient carbon from aquatic resources such as fish. Research over the past two decades has demonstrated that FROs vary widely within and between water bodies and between fish in those water bodies. Lipid analyses have identified aquatic biomarkers that can be extracted from cooking residues as potential evidence for FROs. However, lacking has been efforts to determine empirically how much fish with FROs needs to be cooked in a pot with other resources to result in significant FRO on encrusted cooking residue and what percentage of fish C in a residue is needed to result in the recovery of aquatic biomarkers. Here we provide preliminary assessments of both issues. Our results indicate that in historically-contingent, high alkalinity environments<20%C from fish may result in a statistically significant FRO, but that biomarkers for aquatic resources may be present in the absence of a significant FRO.


This article was originally published in PLoS ONE, available at

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CC BY 4.0) (CC BY 4.0).



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