The following recommendations are not requirements, they are general guidelines. We can analyze extremely small amounts of carbon in our Accelerator Mass Spectrometers (AMS). For minimum quantities, please contact us.
Individual sample size requirements vary. We always recommend that you choose the best samples for your research objectives. If you are concerned that your samples are too small then please contact us for advice.
The quantities listed below assume the material is dry and free of adhering/associated matrix.
Click the material name to view additional charges (if any), sample selection, and lab pretreatment procedures.
|Material Type||AMS Dating
Recommended Sample Size
with C14 Dating
(if sample size permits)
|Antler||1-4 grams||δ13C, δ15N|
|Bones||Depends on type of bone (non-heated, cremated)||δ13C for all types + δ15N, %C, %N, and C:N (except cremated bones)|
|Fish Otolith||5-20 milligrams||δ13C, δ18O|
|Freshwater for DOC extraction||500 mL, 5 mg as precipitate, 0.3 cc as CO2 gas||δ13C|
|Forams (pre-extracted)||4-10 milligrams||δ13C, δ18O|
|Insect (chitin)||10-50 milligrams||δ13C|
|Lime mortar||Please consult the laboratory.||NA|
|Organic Sediment, Gyttja, Silty Peat||1-10 grams||δ13C|
|Peat (fibrous)||3-100 milligrams||δ13C|
|Phytoliths (extracted)||300 milligrams||δ13C|
|Plants and Seeds||3-100 milligrams||δ13C|
|Pollen (extracted)||20 milligrams if wet, 5-15 milligrams if dry||δ13C|
|Pottery (charred food residue)||10-20 milligrams||δ13C|
|Shell, Coral, CaCO3||5-100 milligrams||δ13C, δ18O|
|Teeth||1-2 teeth||δ13C, δ15N|
|Water DIC as SrCO3||50 milligrams||δ13C|
|Water for DIC extraction||250 milliliters-1 liter||δ13C, δ18O, δ2H|
Pretreatment – It is important to understand the pretreatments that are going to be applied to samples since they directly affect the final result. If your samples are extremely small or fragile, we should discuss your pretreatment options prior to applying them to avoid excessive reduction in sample size. We also welcome your requests to contact you after the pretreatment to discuss your options for AMS dating.
Beta Analytic has removed cancellation and partial analysis fees (except solvent/cellulose extraction) for samples that are too small or do not provide adequate carbon for AMS dating.
Note – Fees are inclusive of d13C measurements using an isotope ratio mass spectrometer (IRMS), quality assurance reports, calendar calibration when applicable, and 24/7 web access to past results and pending analyses. When samples are submitted for radiocarbon dating we also include at no extra charge d15N for non-cremated bones; d18O for carbonates; and d18O and d2H for groundwater.
Beta Analytic Sample Submission
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Place large samples for radiocarbon analysis directly into ziplock bags. The bags will not contaminate the sample. Small samples or those with fine particles should be wrapped in aluminum foil to contain them in a pouch. Place each foil-wrapped pouch into a labeled ziplock bag.
NOTE: Always handle ONLY one sample at a time. Begin and end the packaging process for each sample prior to beginning the next. This will best ensure mix-ups are avoided during packaging of samples.
We highly recommend sending your samples in small boxes whenever possible (instead of using envelopes) to protect the physical integrity of the samples during shipment. The equipment used by postal services typically run envelopes through rollers during the automated sorting process, and the small amount of pressure exerted during this process is enough to crush small fragments and powder them.