Radiocarbon-based approach capable of subannual precision resolves the origins of the site of Por-Bajin

Margot Kuitems*, Andrei Panin, Andrea Scifo, Irina Arzhantseva, Yury Kononov, Petra Doeve, Andreas Neocleous, Michael Dee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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Inadequate resolution is the principal limitation of radiocarbon dating. However, recent work has shown that exact-year precision is attainable if use can be made of past increases in atmospheric radiocarbon concentration or so-called Miyake events. Here, this nascent method is applied to an archaeological site of previously unknown age. We locate the distinctive radiocarbon signal of the year 775 common era (CE) in wood from the base of the Uyghur monument of Por-Bajin in Russia. Our analysis shows that the construction of Por-Bajin started in the summer of 777 CE, a foundation date that resolves decades of debate and allows the origin and purpose of the building to be established.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14038-14041
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 23-Jun-2020


  • radiocarbon dating
  • exact-year precision
  • archaeology
  • Miyake event
  • Por-Bajin
  • C-14

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