Information needed for carbon dating

For samples with sufficient sample material remaining after AMS analysis, stable isotopes (N) and C to N ratios will be measured on our EA-IRMS as a further test of collagen quality. Wood & Charcoal: As trees can be long-lived, wood and charcoal may have an in-built age associated with them If possible, either small twigs or outer rings of the tree should be selected for dating.

If these are not available then short-lived species should be selected if possible; identifications must be done before samples are sent for radiocarbon dating.

Bulk peat samples should be dried or stored in a cool, dark place.

Do not wrap them in aluminum foil because the acidic nature of the peat will cause it to disintegrate.

Bone, antler, and teeth Our ability to radiocarbon date bone and other collagen containing samples such as antler, horn, and teeth (dentine) depends upon the preservation of the protein component of the bones (mostly collagen).

The preservation depends largely on the burial conditions (soil acidity, temperature, moisture etc.).

In many cases we may be able to remove the contaminants if we know about them.If macrofossils are not available, bulk peat samples can be analysed.Please remove any roots from bulk samples before sending them.Soil Because soil is not a 'closed' system, it is not a good choice for radiocarbon dating, unless it is for the purpose of carbon storage and turnaround studies.In other words due to bacterial action and water movement, different carbon compounds may be leached from the soil leaving behind more resistant, older carbon while more recent carbon may be absorbed.

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