AMS radiocarbon dating of charcoal

Charcoal is a perfect material for AMS radiocarbon dating. Charcoal sample has to be pure, dry, without any other materials mix like clay, peat or mud. Preferable to have entire piece of charcoal, and if impossible, then several smaller pieces. For the analysis we need 20 milligrams of charcoal material. Prior to radiocarbon (14C) dating all samples in our lab are being selected and pre-treated according to the type, quantity and condition of material, and then graphitized. This is one of the most important phases in the carbon dating process, which requires highest expertise to achieve reliable and accurate result. Charcoal samples in Vilnius Radiocarbon laboratory are being pre-treated using exceptionally best-on-the-market chemicals and consumables and strictly following internally and internationally approved methodology according to the protocol.


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Pretreatment protocol for charcoal samples

Preferred sample size: >20 mg

Minimum sample size: 10 mg

Charcoal is formed through incomplete combustion of wood and other plant materials. Ideal examples of charcoal are those that represent a limited growth stage, such as burnt twigs, small branches, nut shells, seeds, cones, and kernels. In the case of selecting wood charcoal, it should be applied to the outermost growth rings if they are visible. Charcoal samples should be separated from sediments or soil before shipment. The charcoal samples undergo the standard acid-base-acid (ABA) method, in order to remove carbonates and humic acids from the environment. The procedure involves sequential treatments with 1M HCl (70°C), distilled water, 0.2M NaOH (70°C), distilled water (until the solution is colorless), and finally, 1M HCl (70°C). After that samples are dried in pH=3 solution.

Before sending the sample, we recommend to check here, how your sample’s result in the dating certificate will look.

If you need consultation regarding correct sampling – do not hesitate to call or write a message with the sample photos

Saulėtekio av. 3, LT-10257
Vilnius, Lithuania

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