Radiocarbon Dating

Free Webinar: Choosing Optimal Bone Samples for Analysis

Topics include: Isotopes in dating, diets and migration studies
Live Webinar: October 21, 2021
Speaker: Dr. Maren Pauly, Scientific Associate at Beta Analytic and Isobar Science

ACRA Webinar: AMS Dating Basics by Beta Analytic

Beta Analytic invites members of the American Cultural Resources Association (ACRA) to join the Radiocarbon Dating Basics webinar scheduled on May 13, 2021, from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM Eastern Time. Beta Analytic and Isobar Science account manager Dr. Maren Pauly is the speaker.

What is Radiometric Dating?

There have been different methods of measuring carbon-14 since Willard Libby pioneered the radiocarbon dating technique in the 1940s – from the radiometric techniques of gas proportional counting and liquid scintillation counting to the more recent accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS).

Why Rescue Archaeology Needs Fast Radiocarbon Dating

Rescue archaeology plays the role of surveying and recovering any valuable finds from various sites. In the time-pressured environment of rescue archaeology, swift assessments and excavations where necessary are critical. For finds where radiocarbon dating is needed, this can throw a spanner in the works as the time lost waiting for results can be costly for the developers.

Radiocarbon Dating Coral

For deep sea corals, a combination of radiocarbon dating and uranium-thorium dating can be used. The carbon-14 date represents the age of the coral and the water, whereas the uranium-thorium date reflects the coral itself. This can provide information on past deep sea circulation rates.

Why Do Researchers Radiocarbon Date Fish Otoliths?

Radiocarbon dating otoliths has the potential to confirm both the absolute age of individual fish and annuli formation. Despite the many techniques that can be used for age validation, only radiocarbon dating can provide the absolute age in a variety of fishes particularly the long-lived ones.

What Difference Does a C14 Lab’s Turnaround Time Make?

Choosing a radiocarbon dating laboratory is not always easy; there are many factors to consider and often budgetary constraints to negotiate. An important factor in decision-making is how quickly the results are reported, particularly if there are deadlines to meet. Even when there is no impending deadline, a fast turnaround time can be important and lead to cost savings in the long run.

Demand a Tracer-Free Laboratory for Radiocarbon Dating

As part of its commitment to provide high-quality results to its clients, ISO/IEC 17025:2017-accredited Beta Analytic does not accept pharmaceutical samples with “tracer Carbon-14” or any other material containing artificial Carbon-14 (14C) to eliminate the risk of cross-contamination.

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.

Radiocarbon Dating Shells – 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.

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.

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.

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?