Carbon 14 dating paper

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Natural contamination pertains to the introduction of contaminants to the sample by its surrounding material.

For example, bone samples can be contaminated by the presence of limestone or organic acids in the soil (like humic or fulvic acids) where the bones were found.

Important Note on Pretreatment – It is important to understand the pretreatments which are going to be applied to samples since they directly affect the final result.

You are welcome to contact us to discuss the pretreatment or request that we contact you after the pretreatment (and prior to dating).

It must be noted that radiocarbon dating is only applicable to materials that were once part of a living organism.

Bones, shells, wood, charcoal, peat, linen, wool, and parchment are the common materials submitted for radiocarbon testing.

Another example of a natural contaminant is plant root penetration on wood, charcoal, or soil.

Artificial contamination refers to the introduction of contaminants by man during the collection, field conservation, or packaging of the samples.

The specific effect of the contaminant on radiocarbon dating results depends on the type of contaminant, the degree of contamination, and the relative ages of the sample and the contaminant.The effect of these organic acids on the sample, whether they would make the sample older or younger, depends on the age of their original organism.When roots of plants penetrate wood, charcoal, soil, or bones, modern carbon is already introduced to them.Limestone is of geological origin and would be much older than any archaeological sample; hence, inclusion of limestone during the carbon 14 dating would make the sample older than its true age.Humic and fulvic acids are naturally present in soil where microbial degradation of plants and animals has occurred.

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