Richard A Staff

Richard A Staff
University of Glasgow | UofG · Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC)

DPhil (Oxford), MSc (London), MA (Cambridge)

About

105
Publications
31,951
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Introduction
My research interests are in Late Quaternary geochronology, with specific interest in radiocarbon dating and tephrochronology, as well as broader aspects of Quaternary palaeoclimatology. I specialise in radiocarbon dating and, in particular, radiocarbon calibration. I am also interested in Bayesian statistical modelling of chronological data.
Additional affiliations
March 2017 - present
University of Glasgow
Position
  • Fellow
October 2016 - February 2017
University of Oxford
Position
  • Fellow
September 2015 - February 2017
University of Oxford
Position
  • Fellow
Description
  • Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship
Education
October 2007 - September 2011
University of Oxford
Field of study
  • Archaeological Science
September 2006 - September 2007
Royal Holloway, University of London
Field of study
  • Quaternary Science
October 2003 - June 2006
University of Cambridge
Field of study
  • Geography

Publications

Publications (105)
Article
Radiocarbon ((14)C) provides a way to date material that contains carbon with an age up to ~50,000 years and is also an important tracer of the global carbon cycle. However, the lack of a comprehensive record reflecting atmospheric (14)C prior to 12.5 thousand years before the present (kyr B.P.) has limited the application of radiocarbon dating of...
Article
Full-text available
The Younger Dryas Stadial (YDS) was an episode of northern hemispheric cooling which occurred within the Last Glacial Interglacial Transition (LGIT). A major driver for the YDS climate was a weakening of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). It has been inferred that the AMOC began to strengthen mid-YDS, producing a bipartite stru...
Article
Full-text available
Contrasting Greenland and Antarctic temperatures during the last glacial period (115,000 to 11,650 years ago) are thought to have been driven by imbalances in the rates of formation of North Atlantic and Antarctic Deep Water (the ‘bipolar seesaw’). Here we exploit a bidecadally resolved 14C data set obtained from New Zealand kauri (Agathis australi...
Article
Tephra (volcanic ash) layers have the potential to synchronise disparate palaeoenvironmental archives on regional to hemispheric scales. Highly productive arc regions, like those in East Asia, offer a considerable number of widespread isochrons, but before records can be confidently correlated using these layers, a refined and integrated framework...
Article
The luminescence characteristics of sediments are driven by a range of environmental factors and can be used as indicators of both local and regional environmental shifts. Hence, rapid luminescence profiling techniques are increasingly employed during multiproxy analysis of sediment cores, overcoming the practical limitations of traditional (dating...
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Full-text available
The North Atlantic region experienced abrupt high-amplitude cooling at the onset of the Younger Dryas stadial. However, due to chronological uncertainties in the available terrestrial records it is unclear whether terrestrial ecosystem response to this event was instantaneous and spatially synchronous, or whether regional or time-transgressive lags...
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Fire has a historical role in tropical forests related to past climate and ancient land use spanning the Holocene; however, it is unclear from charcoal records how fire varied at different spatiotemporal scales and what sampling strategies are required to determine fire history and their effects. We evaluated fire variation in structurally intact,...
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Geomagnetic excursions represent the dynamic nature of the geodynamo. Accumulated palaeomagnetic records indicate that such excursions are dominated by dipolar-fields, but exhibit different structures. Here we report a palaeomagnetic record from the varved sediments of Lake Suigetsu, central Japan, which reveals fine structures in the Laschamp Excu...
Article
The Ko-g and Ma-f~j tephras are two key isochronous marker layers in northern Japan, which are from the largest Plinian eruptions of Komagatake volcano (VEI=5) and Mashu caldera (VEI=6), respectively. Despite extensive radiocarbon studies associated with the two tephras, individual calibrated results show considerable variations and thus accurate a...
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Full-text available
A new Late glacial – Holocene palaeoenvironmental record from Cerro Benítez (51°33′S 72°35′W), Seno Última Esperanza, is presented. A pollen and spore record, from a closed basin mire, provides insight into the dramatic landscape changes spanning the past ∼16,000 years. AMS radiocarbon dating, supplemented by the application of tephrochronology, pr...
Article
Leads, lags, or synchronies in climatic events among different regions are key to understanding mechanisms of climate change, as they provide insights into the causal linkages among components of the climate system. The well-studied transition from the Lateglacial to early Holocene (ca. 16–10 ka) contains several abrupt climatic shifts, making this...
Article
Full-text available
The article Radiocarbon calibration: The next generation, written by Richard A STAFF and Ruiliang LIU, was originally published in Vol. 64 Issue 3 without open access. With the author(s)’ decision to opt for Open Choice the copyright of the article changed in April 2021 to © The Author(s) 2021 and the article is forthwith distributed under the term...
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The last British-Irish Ice Sheet (BIIS) created a landscape with many sedimentary basins that preserve archives of paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic change during the Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition (LGIT; ~ 18-8 ka BP). The typical lithostratigraphic succession of these archives is composed of minerogenic/allogenic sediments formed during...
Article
European paleoenvironmental records through the Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition (LGIT; ca 16-8 cal ka BP) record a series of climatic events occurring over decadal to multi-centennial timescales. Changes in components of the climatic system other than temperature (e.g. hydrology) through the LGIT are relatively poorly understood however, and f...
Article
Full-text available
The radiocarbon (14 C) calibration curve so far contains annually resolved data only for a short period of time. With accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) matching the precision of decay counting, it is now possible to efficiently produce large datasets of annual resolution for calibration purposes using small amounts of wood. The radiocarbon interc...
Article
Volcanoes in the East Asian/Pacific region have been the source of some of the largest magnitude eruptions during the Quaternary, and accurately evaluating their eruptive histories is essential for hazard assessments. To overcome difficulties in resolving and precisely dating eruptions in the near‐source realm, the high‐resolution (varved) sediment...
Article
Terrestrial plant macrofossils from the sedimentary record of Lake Suigetsu, Japan, provide the only quasi-continuous direct atmospheric record of radiocarbon ( ¹⁴ C) covering the last 50 ka cal BP (Bronk Ramsey et al. 2012). Since then, new high precision data have become available on U-Th dated speleothems from Hulu Cave China, covering the same...
Article
The Neogene and Quaternary are characterized by enormous changes in global climate and environments, including global cooling and the establishment of northern high-latitude glaciers. These changes reshaped global ecosystems, including the emergence of tropical dry forests and savannahs that are found in Africa today, which in turn may have influen...
Article
The eruptive histories of Ulleungdo (South Korea) and Changbaishan (North Korea/China border) volcanoes are not well constrained since their proximal stratigraphies are poorly exposed or largely inaccessible. However, determining the past behaviour of these volcanoes is critical since future eruptions are likely to disperse ash over some of the wor...
Article
It has long been assumed that the last glacier expansion in the Scottish Highlands, the Loch Lomond Readvance (LLR), resulted from a cold reversal that was broadly coeval with the 'Younger Dryas' episode. This view has recently been challenged, with the suggestion that glacier ice had disappeared from Rannoch Moor, one of the main ice accumulation...
Article
A tephra record is presented for a sediment core from Llyn Llech Owain, south Wales, spanning the early‐ to mid‐Holocene. Seven cryptotephra deposits are discovered with three thought to correlate with known eruptions and the remaining four considered to represent previously undocumented events. One deposit is suggested to correlate with the ~6.9 c...
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The human archaeological record changes over time. Finding such change in other animals requires similar evidence, namely, a long-term sequence of material culture. Here, we apply archaeological excavation, dating and analytical techniques to a wild capuchin monkey (Sapajus libidinosus) site in Serra da Capivara National Park, Brazil. We identify m...
Article
The development of chronologies relies on integrating information from a number of different sources. In addition to direct dating evidence, such as radiocarbon dates, researchers will have contextual information which might be an environmental sequence or the context in an archaeological site. This information can be combined through Bayesian or o...
Article
Each of the laboratory intercomparisons (from ICS onwards) has included wood samples, many of them dendrochronologically dated. In the early years, as a result of the majority of laboratories being radiometric, these samples were typically blocks of 20–40 rings, but more recently (SIRI), they have been single ring samples. The sample ages have span...
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The Buddhist caves along the Silk Road have offered a tremendous amount of first-hand materials to study the interaction between east and west. However, in order to advance the understanding of the underlying development and the historic values, a finer chronological framework is required. Using the Dunhuang Mogao grottoes as an example, this paper...
Article
Lake Suigetsu (Japan) is a key site for radiocarbon (14C) calibration and palaeo-environmental reconstruction in East Asia. Here we present a description of the sediment (micro)facies, which in combination with a new approach to varve interpolation allows construction of a revised varve based chronology that extends the previous 2012 varve based ch...
Article
Accurately evaluating the tempo and magnitude of pre-historic eruptions is essential for hazard assessments. Here we demonstrate the importance of integrating records from locations close to the volcano with those in distal regions to generate more comprehensive event stratigraphies. The annually laminated (varved) and intensely radiocarbon dated l...
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Full-text available
Understanding the resilience of early societies to climate change is an essential part of exploring the environmental sensitivity of human populations. There is significant interest in the role of abrupt climate events as a driver of early Holocene human activity, but there are very few well-dated records directly compared to local climate archives...
Article
The iconic climate archive of Tenaghi Philippon (TP), NE Greece, allows the study of short-term palaeoclimatic and environmental change throughout the past 1.3 Ma. To provide high-quality age control for detailed palaeoclimate reconstructions based on the TP archive, (crypto)tephra studies of a peat core ‘TP-2005’ have been carried out for the 0–13...
Article
Here we present the results of the first cryptotephra investigation of two Late glacial-Holocene lake records from the Southern Carpathian Mountains in Romania, Lake Brazi and Lake Lia. The discovery of an important Icelandic tephrostratigraphic marker, the Askja-S, in the sedimentary records of both sites significantly extends the known ash disper...
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Full-text available
The construction chronology of three of the earliest Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes (Caves 268, 272, and 275) has been the subject of ongoing debate for over half a century. This chronology is a crucial topic in terms of further understanding of the establishment of the Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes, early Buddhism in the Gansu corridor, and its relationship wi...
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Full-text available
Today, farmers in many regions of eastern Asia sow their barley grains in the spring and harvest them in the autumn of the same year (spring barley). However, when it was first domesticated in southwest Asia, barley was grown between the autumn and subsequent spring (winter barley), to complete their life cycles before the summer drought. The quest...
Data
(including Table A and Figs A-C). (DOCX)
Article
To achieve a reliable radiocarbon ( ¹⁴ C) date for an object, any contamination that may be of a different age must be removed prior to dating. Samples that have been conserved with treatments such as adhesives, varnishes or consolidants can pose a particular challenge to ¹⁴ C dating. At the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit (ORAU), common exampl...
Article
An age model (Mark et al., 2017) for ODP 758 and the Matuyama-Brunhes boundary transition and Termination IX in the equatorial Indian Ocean is robust and accurate. No significant magnetic lock-in delay is evident at the depth of the Matuyama-Brunhes boundary and the study highlights that ⁴⁰Ar/³⁹Ar geochronology is critical for dissection of the Ple...
Article
Rock art worldwide has proved extremely difficult to date directly. Here, the first radiocarbon dates for rock paintings in Botswana and Lesotho are presented, along with additional dates for Later Stone Age rock art in South Africa. The samples selected for dating were identified as carbon-blacks from short-lived organic materials, meaning that th...
Article
High-precision ⁴⁰Ar/³⁹Ar ages for a series of proximal tuffs from the Toba super-volcano in Indonesia, and the Bishop Tuff and Lava Creek Tuff B in North America have been obtained. Core from Ocean Drilling Project Site 758 in the eastern equatorial Indian Ocean contains discrete tephra layers that we have geochemically correlated to the Young Toba...
Article
Full-text available
Today, farmers in many regions of eastern Asia sow their barley grains in the spring and harvest them in the autumn of the same year (spring barley). However, when it was first domesticated in southwest Asia, barley was grown between the autumn and subsequent spring (winter barley), to complete their life cycles before the summer drought. The quest...
Article
Increase in grain/seed size recurrently features as a key element in the ‘domestication syndrome’ of plants (cf. Zohary and Hopf 2000; Fuller et al. 2014). In the context of its spread across Eurasia, however, the grain size of one of the world's major crop species underwent a substantial reduction. Between the fifth and second millennia BC, the gr...
Article
The warming trend at the end of the last glacial was disrupted by rapid cooling clearly identified in Greenland (Greenland Stadial 1 or GS-1) and Europe (Younger Dryas Stadial or YD). This reversal to glacial-like conditions is one of the best known examples of abrupt change but the exact timing and global spatial extent remain uncertain. Whilst th...
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Full-text available
div class="title">Decadally Resolved Lateglacial Radiocarbon Evidence from New Zealand Kauri–CORRIGENDUM - Volume 58 Issue 4 - Alan Hogg, John Southon, Chris Turney, Jonathan Palmer, Christopher Bronk Ramsey, Pavla Fenwick, Gretel Boswijk, Ulf Buntgen, Michael Friedrich, Gerhard Helle, Konrad Hughen, Richard Jones, Bernd Kromer, Amexandra Noronha,...
Article
The Last Glacial–Interglacial Transition (LGIT; 15,000–11,000 cal BP) was characterized by complex spatiotemporal patterns of climate change, with numerous studies requiring accurate chronological control to decipher leads from lags in global paleoclimatic, paleoenvironmental, and archaeological records. However, close scrutiny of the few available...
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Full-text available
Worldwide, dating rock art is difficult to achieve because of the frequent lack of datable material and the difficulty of removing contamination from samples. Our research aimed to select the paints that would be the most likely to be successfully radiocarbon dated and to estimate the quantity of paint needed depending on the nature of the paint an...
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Full-text available
The B-Tm tephra, dispersed during the highly explosive Changbaishan ‘Millennium’ eruption (ca. 940 e950 CE) and a key marker layer within the Greenland ice cores, has now been identified in the Lake Suigetsu (SG06) sedimentary sequence, central Japan. The major element geochemistry of the volcanic glasses within this tephra layer are compared to a...
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Full-text available
During the Last Glacial Maximum, continental ice sheets isolated Beringia (northeast Siberia and northwest North America) from unglaciated North America. By around 15 to 14 thousand calibrated radiocarbon years before present (cal. kyr bp), glacial retreat opened an approximately 1,500-km-long corridor between the ice sheets. It remains unclear whe...
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Full-text available
Stone tools reveal worldwide innovations in human behaviour over the past three million years. However, the only archaeological report of pre-modern non-human animal tool use comes from three Western chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus) sites in Côte d’Ivoire, aged between 4.3 and 1.3 thousand years ago (kya). This anthropocentrism limits our compara...
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Full-text available
The Greenland Stadial 1 (GS-1; ~12.9 to 11.65 kyr cal BP) was a period of North Atlantic cooling, thought to have been initiated by North America fresh water runoff that caused a sustained reduction of North Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), resulting in an antiphase temperature response between the hemispheres (the ‘bipolar seesa...
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Full-text available
Recent studies have suggested that the first arrival of humans in the Americas during the end of the last Ice Age is associated with marked anthropogenic influences on landscape; in particular, with the use of fire which, would have given even small populations the ability to have broad impacts on the landscape. Understanding the impact of these ea...
Article
Full-text available
Increase in grain/seed size recurrently features as a key element in the ‘domestication syndrome’ of plants (cf. Zohary and Hopf 2000; Fuller et al. 2014). In the context of its spread across Eurasia, however, the grain size of one of the world's major crop species underwent a substantial reduction. Between the fifth and second millennia BC, the gr...