13 Mar 2023
 | 13 Mar 2023

A new multi-method approach for dating cave calcite: application to the cave of the Trou du Renard (Soyons, France)

Loïc Martin, Julius Nouet, Arnaud Dapoigny, Gaëlle Barbotin, Fanny Claverie, Edwige Pons-Branchu, Jocelyn Barbarand, Christophe Pécheyran, Norbert Mercier, Fanny Derym, Bernard Gély, and Hélène Valladas

Abstract. A multi-method approach aimed at characterizing carbonate parietal deposits and at proposing a chronology for these carbonate crusts is described. Dating was performed by radiometric methods (C-14 for recent samples, and U-series) on samples that had been characterized beforehand using optical and cathodoluminescence microscopy, and Fourier Transform Infrared microspectroscopy. For U-series, high precision on U-Th ages was achieved using liquid phase multicollector-ICP-MS applied to large samples, while laser-ablation single collector - ICP-SFMS provided information on the reliability of the sampling with a high spatial resolution. This methodology, based on the combination of these two techniques reinforced by the information obtained by the calcite characterization methods, was applied to carbonate deposits from the cave of the Trou du Renard (Soyons, France). The ages obtained with the two U-Th dating techniques are comparable and illustrate that different laminae were deposited at different rates in the samples. In the future, this procedure based on the mineralogical and geochemical characterization of the samples and their dating by radiometric methods will be applied to the layers of parietal carbonates deposited on Palaeolithic decorated walls. When the crystallization is slow, the U/Th dating method by imaging technique is of interest as well as that by multicollector-ICP-MS in liquid phase. The development of robust dating methods on very small quantities of material will make it possible to define the chronological framework of cave rock art.

Loïc Martin et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-171', Michel Condomines, 10 May 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on CC1', Loic Martin, 05 Jun 2023
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-171', Anonymous Referee #1, 03 Jun 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC1', Loic Martin, 20 Jun 2023

Loïc Martin et al.

Loïc Martin et al.


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Short summary
The carbonate wall deposits of the Trou du Renard Cave (France) were dated using a multimethod approach: U-Th dating by bulk dissolution of samples and ICPMS, U-Th dating by laser ablation ICPMS imaging and radiocarbon dating. The sample compositions were studied to ensure that they can give reliable ages. Ages ranging from 187.9 ± 5.3 ka and 1.4 ± 0.1 ka were found. This approach should make it possible to establish more robust chronologies of archaeological caves.