Send charcoal for carbon dating
If necessary we will send you a monitoring kit for swiping your laboratory and suspect areas, to test for tracer contaminations.
If the water remains mostly clear, then there is probably little chance of getting a radiocarbon date.At any particular time all living organisms have approximately the same ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in their tissues.When an organism dies it ceases to replenish carbon in its tissues and the decay of carbon 14 to nitrogen 14 changes the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14.However, it is up to the submitter to define and select the materials to be dated: for example, since you know your samples far better than we do, it’s your job to pick out the macrofossils or charcoal to be dated from within the sediment or peat matrix.Specialized services such as pollen or foram picking or individual compound separation are not offered.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.
Experts can compare the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in dead material to the ratio when the organism was alive to estimate the date of its death.
Radiocarbon dating can be used on samples of bone, cloth, wood and plant fibers.
To send samples to Keck-CCAMS at the UC Irvine for analysis, the following steps are required: Submitters, and in particular those making their first application, must make contact with the laboratory to discuss their requirements prior to actually submitting samples. A submission form plus a sample list provided must be filled out (see guidance document) for each group of samples submitted and sent to us via mail, fax or e-mail.
A hard copy of both must also accompany the samples. laboratory is currently equipped to handle routine processing of charcoal, wood, seed, carbonates, animal remains, etc.
If the water turns very cloudy or dark, there may be sufficient organic materials present that could be rinsed off the sand grains and processed for dating.