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Radiocarbon Dating Teeth vs Bones

Researchers often ask which material is best for radiocarbon dating – bones or teeth. Based on our lab’s experience, either material can provide the best date. However, the environmental conditions for these materials should be taken into account during sample selection. Samples Submerged in Water Bones that have been exposed to water for long periods [...]

Radiocarbon Dating Shells – Localized vs Global Marine Reservoir Correction

There are two possible reservoir corrections applied to a radiocarbon date for marine carbonates – the localized reservoir correction (Delta±R) and the global marine reservoir correction. The former is provided by the client to the lab before the analyses while the latter is part of the calibration program. The global marine reservoir correction is automatically [...]

Radiocarbon Dating Bones Contaminated with PVA

Bones contaminated with polyvinyl acetate (PVA) require specialized pretreatment, such as solvent extractions, before radiocarbon dating. The success of the dating also varies if the bone has been soaked in PVA or if the PVA was applied in localized areas where there were cracks or breaks. If the bone has been soaked and saturated in [...]

Beta Analytic Q&A: Is it Possible to Date Fired Clay Bricks?

It is possible to date fired clay bricks, but it depends on how the bricks were manufactured and what types of contamination may have been absorbed into the bricks since they were put in place. We recommend sending 2-10 grams for AMS dating. Dating fired clay brick is much like dating pottery sherd. Sometimes it [...]

Beta Analytic Q&A: Can Sand be Dated?

Just like sediment, it is better to date the macrofossils found in sand. In the absence of macrofossils, sand can be dated if there is an organic material on the surface of the sand. If there is enough carbon present in the organic coating, a radiocarbon date can be obtained. If the sand is dark [...]

Beta Analytic Q&A: Can Mixtures of Materials be Dated?

What if there are several materials found in sediment (e.g. wood, charcoal, seeds) but each one does not meet the lab’s minimum sample size requirement, can a mixture of materials be dated? The first thing to do is to consult the lab which component in the mixture is best for radiocarbon dating. Sending a mixture [...]

Beta Analytic Q&A: Do you Accept Beeswax for AMS Dating?

We have dated beeswax, sometimes with good success, sometimes not. This is because no pretreatment for organic contaminants can be applied. Thus, if any younger or older carbon has been incorporated in the beeswax, it will be represented in the result. Considering no pretreatment is required, 3-10 mg of beeswax should be enough for a [...]

Beta Analytic Q&A: Is it possible to date charred material isolated from metal slags?

Charred material from a metallic slag can be dated, but it is generally problematic on several fronts. The separation of the charred material from the slag requires the use of very concentrated acids. The concentrated acid has a tendency to dissolve the charred material into very fine “soot-sized” particles, which are rarely able to withstand [...]

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