About us

The Waikato Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory is headed by scientists with active fieldwork and research interests.

The Waikato Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory is involved in research projects around the globe, which cover a diverse range of radiocarbon dating topics/areas.

Past research projects have included researching the history of Arnhem Land ancestral sites in northern Australia, surveying and excavating shell mounds across Cape York Peninsular, studying the high-resolution store of information about past environmental conditions from sub-fossil kauri logs, and identifying how Asian civilisations emerged.

Our research takes us all over New Zealand and the world to areas such as southern China, northern Australia, and Southeast Asia. Collaboration with internationally and nationally renowned researchers from world-class tertiary institutions/laboratories including the University of Oxford (UK), the University of Exeter (UK), Macquarie University (Victoria, Australia), the Australian National University (Canberra), James Cook University (Cairns, Australia), Monash University (Melbourne, Australia), the University of Auckland and the University of Otago in New Zealand, ensure the Waikato Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory remains at the cutting-edge of the field.

The Waikato Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory is headed by scientists with active fieldwork and research interests. We are known for:

Our laboratory has 4 state-of-the-art AMS graphitisation lines.

Visit the GIS Viewer for the Aotearoa NZ Archaeological Radiocarbon Database


The Waikato Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory was established in 1974 by Prof. Alex Wilson in anticipation of geomorphology and tephrostratigraphy projects looking at landform processes in the Waikato region.

Initially, the laboratory was run as a research unit measuring radiocarbon determinations for staff and student projects. During the first five years, 304 determinations were measured. In 1979 Alan Hogg took over the running of the lab and worked closely with Dr. Henry Polach (formerly Australian National University) to improve vacuum line and counting procedures.

The lab started producing AMS dates in 1996. In 2007 Fiona Petchey visited the Keck Radiocarbon laboratory in Irvine, California, and worked with Dr. John Southon to improve our AMS processes. Since 1980 we have run over 50,000 radiocarbon dates. During this time the popularity of AMS has grown from only 4% of our total throughput in 1996 to around 90% in 2020.

There is so much more that we do. For more information, here are some stories from the archives.

Five staff are now employed in the University of Waikato Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory.