Radiocarbon dating samples


For radiocarbon dating to be possible, the material must once have been part of a living organism.

This means that things like stone, metal and pottery cannot usually be directly dated by this means unless there is some organic material embedded or left as a residue.

That causes a dating problem with any animal that eats seafood. After about ten half-lives, there's very little C14 left.

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More specifically, how does one assess whether measurable improvements in dating accuracy can be achieved for an acceptable level of resource investment?

The dating process is always designed to try to extract the carbon from a sample which is most representative of the original organism.

In general it is always better to date a properly identified single entity (such as a cereal grain or an identified bone) rather than a mixture of unidentified organic remains.

The bone material was collected from 3 necropoles of the Bronze Age period in Cyprus (Erimi-Laonin tou Porakou, Lophou-Kolaouzou, and Erimi-Kafkalla&Pitharka, along the Kouris Valley), an area characterized by environmental conditions that do not favor bone preservation.

Samples were treated to extract collagen and measured by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS).

While low collagen content is a condition we cannot overcome, we can use several chemical and elemental indicators in order to assess collagen quality.

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