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MMA cohoba stand: AMS radiocarbon dating results

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA

Accession number 1979.206.38

The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979

front side and back views of wooden figure 

The cohoba stand is carved from Guaiacum sp. Three radiocarbon samples taken at specific points from the cohoba stand’s base provided sufficient material for five dates. This series of samples was taken to assess the growth rate of the selected tree, and to estimate its felling date, and hence time of carving (assuming the wood was carved fresh).

base of wooden figure, showing where samples have been taken

Sampling locations at the base of the MMA cohoba stand and results achieved (NB: the four large drill holes and central cavity are all from previous mounting attempts). Three 14C samples were taken (sample sites highlighted in blue), but five dates were run, as there was sufficient material to duplicate two dates.

The results ranged from AD 902-1035 (latest of four dates at 95.4% probability), and based on the Guaiacum sp., growth rate model developed as part of this project (4-14 years for 1cm of wood), this can be further confined to AD 974-1020. The carving’s 220mm diameter represents between 59 and 165 years of growth.


Graph showing the dating results after modelling on estimated growth rates for Guaiacum sp.

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