Materials suitable for radiocarbon dating include charcoal, wood and other plant matter, soils and sediments, shells, bone, carbonates, dissolved inorganic carbonate (DIC), methane and hydrocarbons, and food products.
A table of optimum and minimum sample sizes is provided below.
Please feel free to contact our lab staff to discuss the specific details of your samples.
Normal handling will not contaminate most sample types, however, samples should be protected from sources of extraneous carbon.
If necessary we will send you a monitoring kit for swiping your laboratory and suspect areas, to test for tracer contaminations.
This procedure is important for avoiding serious consequences involving contamination of your samples and our laboratory.
Please follow the guidelines described below: _____Never store material under conditions that might allow fungal or bacterial growth: If possible, try to keep samples frozen or dry.
_____Never handle samples in, or use implements and tools from, labs where tracer C might have been used. _____ Avoid wrapping samples in paper, or packing in containers that are lubricated with oil, waxes or any other organic materials.For low-carbon organic material the carbon content can vary widely and no estimate for the preferred minimum sample size can be given.Note that smaller sample sizes can be dated at a reduced precision. It is important to try to avoid storage and packing methodologies that may contaminate your sample.We discourage the dating of bulk soil, peat, or sediments, because those materials are often a mixture of components with widely differing ages.The preferred minimum sample size for a C measurement is 1 mg carbon.Very small samples (less than 300 mg) are analyzed by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS).