Radiocarbon Dating of Bone: To Collagen and Beyond

  • R. E. Taylor


Discussions concerning the reliability of 14C-based age determinations on bone have occurred throughout all four decades of radiocarbon research. The accuracy of bone 14C determinations was questioned by Libby even before the first bone 14C analysis was undertaken. Despite the amount of attention given to the exclusion of contamination by isolation and purification of specific chemical and, most recently, molecular fractions of bone, a tradition of skepticism concerning the general reliability of bone 14C values remains (eg, Brown 1988: 225). Concerns about the accuracy of 14C values obtained on seriously collagen-degraded bones (eg, Gillespie 1989; Stafford et al 1990, 1991) maintain the negative connotations associated with this sample type.


Bone Sample Radiocarbon Date Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Human Skeleton 
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