Radiocarbon dating bone
Results of the redating of bone of Late Middle and Early Upper Paleolithic age from the British Isles and Europe suggest that we may need to look again at the traditional chronology for these periods.Radiocarbon dating of bones can be very useful in archaeological contexts, especially when dealing with funerary deposits lacking material culture, e.g. 14C measurements of bone samples are usually performed on the extracted collagen residue.The lab no longer provides radiometric dating for these samples.For human teeth, preferred samples are single complete incisor or canine. For animal teeth, the sample size depends on the animal. For small animals, please consult the lab regarding the appropriate quantity.The content and the quality of collagen can vary significantly, mainly depending on bone preservation and diagenesis.Generally speaking, environmental conditions such as low p H level of soils, high temperatures, and percolating groundwaters, typical of arid and tropical zones, can affect the preservation of collagen; at the same time, bones recovered in such environments are more likely to be contaminated with carbon from the surrounding environment.Leached bones are commonly white, brittle, or friable that may crumble when slight pressure is exerted on them.
The bone material was collected from 3 necropoles of the Bronze Age period in Cyprus (Erimi-Laonin tou Porakou, Lophou-Kolaouzou, and Erimi-Kafkalla&Pitharka, along the Kouris Valley), an area characterized by environmental conditions that do not favor bone preservation.Spongy bones like ball and sockets, vertebra, and the like do not tend to preserve well in harsh conditions and may not yield sufficient collagen for AMS dating.For bird and fish bones, please consult the lab for sufficient sample size.Samples were treated to extract collagen and measured by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS).14C results have been compared with the archaeological evidence, showing some relationship between measured C/N atomic ratios and collagen quality.