Frequently preserved in archaeological and paleontological sites, the tiny size of small-mammal remains favors percolations into underlying layers along stratigraphic sequences. This is one of the multiple post-depositional processes that may affect the integrity of the original deposits and therefore the subsequent scientific interpretations. A new technique offers a straightforward possibility of detecting intrusive episodes through the absolute dating of minute amounts of bone (down to 10 mg), meaning that isolated elements (such as mandibles in this case) are enough to obtain reliable radiocarbon dates if collagen is moderately to well preserved. The radiocarbon dates obtained here for small-mammal bones (recovered from pre-Bølling to recent deposits) and their comparison with previous dates obtained from other sources (large-mammal bones, charcoal, botanical samples, etc.), with different protocols and instruments, show the potential of small-mammal dating to reveal (and eventually contribute a solution to) stratigraphical issues in different archaeological contexts.
Rofes J., Cersoy S., Tresset A., Royer A., Nicod P.-Y., Laroulandie V., Langlais M., Pailler Y., Leandri C., Leandri F., Lebon M., Zazzo A. 2020. Detecting stratigraphical issues with small-mammal remains and radiocarbon dates from minute bones. Journal of Quaternary Science, 35(4), p. 505-513