"It's like a sack of marbles that has just a few black marbles that you want to count.

C-12 and C-13 are stable but C-14 decays at a known rate, with a half-life of 5,568 years.

University of Leicester archaeologists took four small samples from one of the ribs of the Greyfriars skeleton and sent them to two specialist units with the facilities to analyse them: the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC) at the University of Glasgow, and the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, part of the University of Oxford’s Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art.

This would seem reasonable for a medieval nobleman, and certainly for a member of the royal family.

Allowing for this factor, and bearing in mind that the results cannot be later than 1538, a Bayesian statistic modelling technique gives the approximate date as AD1475-1530 (with a 69% confidence).

Ted Ognibene loads a sample in the NEC 1 MV Tandem Accelerator at the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (CAMS).

This accelerator is used mainly for biological research.

This photo shows the sub-basement (trench) and support columns for the incoming accelerator.

(Download Image)From developing the first accelerator mass spectrometer for use in the biology field to tracking radionuclides from the Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster, the Laboratory's Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (CAMS) has spent 25 years in the spotlight of not only dating ancient artifacts but solving global challenges.

What started as a practical joke on a CAMS researcher when his colleagues placed the plastic birds all over his lawn when he returned from a trip to the tropics turned into CAMS tradition.

On occasion, the flamingos return on someone else's lawn including its first director: In July 1991, when Davis returned from his first inspection tour in Iraq for the United Nations, he found a flamingo wearing a burnoose perched on the CAMS sign outside the office building.

The small pieces of bone were combusted to produce carbon dioxide which was then put through a mass spectrometer.