The discovery of past spikes in atmospheric radiocarbon activity, caused by major solar energetic particle events, has opened up new possibilities for high-precision chronometry. The two spikes, or Miyake Events, have now been widely identified in tree-rings that grew in the years 775 and 994 CE. Furthermore, all other plant material that grew in these years would also have incorporated the anomalously high concentrations of radiocarbon. Crucially, some plant-based artefacts, such as papyrus documents, timber beams and linen garments, can also be allocated to specific positions within long, currently unfixed, historical sequences. Thus, Miyake Events represent a new source of tie-points that could provide the means for anchoring early chronologies to the absolute timescale. Here, we explore this possibility, outlining the most expeditious approaches, the current challenges and obstacles, and how they might best be overcome.
- Received April 12, 2016.
- Accepted July 15, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.