Wood

AMS radiocarbon dating of wood

AMS radiocarbon dating of wood is a powerful tool for determining the age of wooden artifacts and archaeological samples. Carbon-14 is a naturally occurring radioactive isotope present in the atmosphere. Living organisms absorb Carbon-14 during their lifetime through the intake of carbon dioxide. When an organism, such as a tree, dies, it stops absorbing Carbon-14. Over time, the Carbon-14 in its remains begins to decay at a known rate, and radiocarbon dating shows the event, when approximately the tree has died.

For the analysis we need 50 milligrams of wood material. It is as much as 0,5 x 0,5 x 0,5 cm cubic. Sample must be well preserved and dry. If you have a sample from the large tree, please keep in mind that the most outer tree rings are much younger than the tree rings from the center core part.

 

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Preparation protocol for modern wood, non-modern fragile wood samples

Prior to radiocarbon (14C) dating all samples 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. Wood 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.

Preferred sample size: >50 mg

Minimum sample size: 30 mg

Prior to radiocarbon dating all samples 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. Wood 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:

Cellulose, a primary component of wood, is frequently employed for radiocarbon analysis due to its pure organic carbon form, resistant to contamination. Cellulose extraction of modern wood samples is performed using the base-acid–base-acid-bleaching method. The samples are treated in 1M NaOH (70°C).  overnight, followed by sequential treatments in 1M HCl (70°C), 1M NaOH (70°C), and 1M HCl again for 1 hr each. Then bleaching step of 1 hr 30 min using 5% NaClO2 and 2 drops of 1M HCl (70°C) is performed. 

When dealing with non-modern, fragile wood samples, the concentrations of the solutions used may vary due to the potential fragility of the samples caused by poor preservation and the preparation methodology consists of the ABA procedure and the bleaching step using 2.5-5% NaClO2. After that samples are dried in pH=3 solution.

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

Saulėtekio av. 3, LT-10257
Vilnius, Lithuania

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