AustArch: A Database of 14C and Luminescence Ages from Archaeological Sites in Australia

Alan Williams, Sean Ulm, 2014

Data copyright © Alan Williams unless otherwise stated

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Alan Williams, Sean Ulm (2014) AustArch: A Database of 14C and Luminescence Ages from Archaeological Sites in Australia [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor]

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The AustArch dataset consists of 5,044 radiocarbon determinations from 1,748 archaeological sites across Australia. The dataset also contains a further 478 non-radiocarbon ages, comprising optically stimulated luminescence (n=220), thermoluminescence ages (n=161), oxidisable carbon ratio (OCR) (n=35), uranium-series (n=28), electron spin resonance (n=26), cation ratio dating (n=7) and amino acid racemization (AAR)(n=1) ages from 86 archaeological sites. The dataset contains up to 26 data fields for each age, including location, site type, biogeographic zone, sample material, context and age details.

The dataset was compiled and published sequentially by region starting initially with Queensland (Ulm and Reid 2000), the arid zone (Williams et al. 2008), the top end (Williams and Smith, 2012) and, finally, the southern latitudes and Tasmania (Williams and Smith, 2013). The dataset includes all radiocarbon and non-radiocarbon ages associated with archaeological deposits published in the last 60 years of research. The dataset also includes extensive, but not comprehensive, unpublished/grey literature data mainly from New South Wales and Queensland. Some unpublished/grey literature from Victoria and Western Australia is also included through personal communication and/or other databases but no comprehensive review of archaeological repositories containing such information was undertaken in these states and territories.

Overall, information has been obtained from 1,067 publications in the development of the dataset, with several hundred more being examined but failing to contain pertinent data. Of these publications, 583 (55%) were journal articles; 51 (5%) were books; 159 (15%) were book chapters; 100 (9%) were unpublished undergraduate or PhD theses; 164 (15%) were unpublished consulting/commercial reports; and 10 (1%) came from other sources.

This dataset accompanies an Internet Archaeology Data Paper: Williams, A.N., Ulm, S., Smith, M. and Reid J. (2014). 'AustArch: A Database of 14C and Non-14C Ages from Archaeological Sites in Australia - Composition, Compilation and Review (Data Paper)'. Internet Archaeology, (36).


For advice and information contained in the database we thank Bryce Barker, John Beaton, Andrew Border, Sally Brockwell, Noelene Cole, Malcolm Connolly, Richard Cosgrove, Matt Cupper, Bruno David, Neale Draper, Tony Eales, Jay Hall, Giles Hamm, Fiona Hook, Lara Lamb, Ian Lilley, Roger Luebbers, Ian McNiven, Rob Neal, Jon Prangnell, Kathryn Przywolnik, Norma Richardson, Richard Robins, June Ross, Mike Rowland, Peter Veth, Gary Vines, Lynley Wallis and Esmee Webb. Sean Ulm is the recipient of an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (project number FT120100656).


Ulm, S., Reid, J. (2000) 'Index of dates from archaeological sites in Queensland'. Queensland Archaeological Research, 12, 1-129.

Williams, A.N., Smith, M.A., Turney, C.S.M, Cupper, M. (2008) 'AustArch 1: A database of 14C and luminescence ages from archaeological sites in the Australian Arid Zone'. Australian Archaeology, 66, 99.

Williams, A.N., Smith, M.A. (2012). 'AustArch 2: A database of 14C and luminescence ages from archaeological sites in the Top End'. Australian Archaeology, 74, 146.

Williams, A.N., Smith, M.A. (2013). 'AustArch3: A database of 14C and luminescence ages from archaeological sites in southern Australia'. Australian Archaeology, 76, 102.

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