Advantages and disadvantages of radiocarbon dating dating a lebanese women
The chemical pre-treatment depends on the type of sample.
As an example bones are treated as follows: Several of these procedures are done in an automated continuous flow system.
The sample is put into the ion source either as graphite or as carbon dioxide.
It is ionised by bombarding it with caesium ions and then focused into fast-moving beam (energy typically 25ke V).
However, there are a number of other factors that can affect the amount of carbon present in a sample and how that information is interpreted by archaeologists.
All of the molecular ions (such as Careful sampling and pre-treatment are very important stages in the dating process, particularly for archaeological samples where there is frequently contamination from the soil.
Before sampling, the surface layers are usually removed because these are most susceptible to contamination.
Only very small quantities are required for the AMS measurement (30ug-3mg of carbon) and so the damage to objects can be minimised.
Desmond Clark (1979:7) observed that without radiocarbon dating "we would still be foundering in a sea of imprecisions sometime bred of inspired guesswork but more often of imaginative speculation." And as Colin Renfrew (1973) aptly noted over 30 years ago, the "Radiocarbon Revolution" transformed how archaeologists could interpret the past and track cultural changes through a period in human history where we see among other things the massive migration of peoples settling virtually every major region of the world, the transition from hunting and gathering to more intensive forms of food production, and the rise of city-states.
However, as with any dating technique there are limits to the kinds of things that can be satisfactorily dated, levels of precision and accuracy, age range constraints, and different levels of susceptibility to contamination.