Bone advice

Our ability to radiocarbon date bone and other collagen containing samples such as antler, horn, and teeth (dentine) depends upon the preservation of the protein component of the bones (mostly collagen). The preservation depends largely on the burial conditions (soil acidity, temperature, moisture etc.).

We remove the mineral component of the bones because it is not reliable for dating. We then purify the remaining material to concentrate the collagen and remove as much soil contamination as possible. A collagen yield of less than 1% means that the sample was not well preserved and is unacceptable for dating purposes. The sample will not proceed to the final AMS stages.

To maximise the likelihood of getting reliable radiocarbon ages from your bone samples here are some suggestions based on our experience: