Radiocarbon dating based on geomorphological, archaeological and biological data is widely used in geomorphological studies to reconstruct sequences of climatic variations and coastal evolution during the Holocene. The coastal area of Southern Italy is characterized by aeolian dune belts shaped during the Holocene that crop out along the present shoreline. Archaeological data and previous radiocarbon results suggest three aeolian morphogenetic phases. The first phase corresponds to the end of the rapid post-glacial transgression (7.0–6.0 ka BP); the second to the aeolian sand deposition during the ‘‘Greek–Roman’’ period (2.5–1.9 ka BP); and the most recent phase occurred in the period from the Middle Ages to the present time. The reconstruction of the sequence of the morphogenetic phases was mainly based on radiocarbon analyses carried out on both terrestrial gastropods and marine bivalves. The reliability of the radiocarbon analyses on terrestrial gastropod shells has been questioned by several Authors and a closer understanding of the carbon uptake mechanism in this kind of organisms is needed. A systematic study was carried out by performing Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) 14C dating on the shells of terrestrial gastropods sampled alive in different geomorphological settings along the Adriatic and Ionian coasts of Southern Italy. The results show significant anomalies in the radiocarbon content and in the carbon stable isotopic ratio. This can be due to the ingestion of 14C-depleted calcium carbonate in the diet of these organisms. We also calculated the carbon fraction from air Xa (between 16% and 48%), plants Xv (between 36% and 73%) and limestone Xc (between 3% and 23%) giving insight to the origin of the age anomalies.
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