Radiocarbon dating human bones
The Beta Analytic lab is located in Miami, Florida. Samples can be sent directly to Miami or to any of its sample forwarding offices worldwide.
All samples sent to these offices are forwarded to Miami via overnight courier at Beta’s expense.
However, the environmental conditions for these materials should be taken into account during sample selection.
Researchers often ask which material is best for radiocarbon dating – bones or teeth.
Based on Beta Analytic’s experience, either material can provide the best date.
If there is no other choice but to send powdered bones, please make sure that the bones must be cleaned of any adhering or invasive contamination prior to the drilling or powdering.
This many times requires both physical abrasion of the surface and chemical treatments.
Most of the time, the collagen proteins had been leached out of the bone leaving them unsuitable for radiocarbon dating.
Leached bones are commonly white, brittle, or friable that may crumble when slight pressure is exerted on them.
As for the type of bones best sent for AMS dating, the lab recommends sending good cortical bone from the larger bones of the body (femur, tibia, upper arm bone, jaw, skull plate and sometimes the ribs).
Spongy bones like ball and sockets, vertebra, and the like do not tend to preserve well in harsh conditions and may not yield sufficient collagen for AMS dating.
The lab highly recommends NOT to send powdered bones.
Bones that have been drilled or powdered prior to submission may not lend themselves to a robust pretreatment that can ensure the accuracy of the results.
Chemical, enzymatic and spectroscopic characterizaton of "collagen" and other organic fractions from prehistoric bones.