AMS-radiocarbon dating of specific organic fractions is used to evaluate sources of errors in dating of organic-poor lake sediment from Linnévatnet, a proglacial arctic lake. Dates on un differentiated (bulk) organic matter are much too old because of contamination from detrital coal. Attempts to remove coal from other organic matter were only partially successful, a consequence of the wide grain-size distribution of the coal. Even if coal contamination is fully removed, the bulk of the remaining organic matter is of aquatic origin and is unsuitable for 14C dating because the lake waters are depleted in 14 C due to dissolution of carbonate minerals. Terrestrial plant macrofossils provide the only reliable material to date the lake sediment; however, this material is present in sufficient quantity for AMS-radiocarbon dating only in cores proximal to the main inlet streams. Paired dates on terrestrial plants and aquatic insects from the same core level and paired dates on modern aquatic and terrestrial vegetation indicate differences in carbon reservoir activities of 1000 and 3000 years. In hard-water lakes, coring is recommended in inlet-proximal areas where inwashed terrestrial vegetation is most concen trated. Chronologies established in proximal cores can be transferred to central-basin cores using litho or chemo-stratigraphic indices.