Bone dating techniques

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Labeling of bone samples with animal glue is an example of artificial contamination.

Radiocarbon dating personnel treat soil samples by wet sieving a slurry; only the fine particles or macrofossils are radiocarbon dated.Natural contamination pertains to the introduction of contaminants to the sample by its surrounding material.For example, bone samples can be contaminated by the presence of limestone or organic acids in the soil (like humic or fulvic acids) where the bones were found.One of the basic assumptions in carbon-14 dating is that the sample being analyzed has undergone only radioactive decay and has remained unaltered by any other process over the years since it ceased interaction with the biosphere. The archaeological artifacts and geological specimens sent to labs for radiocarbon dating are usually found embedded or buried with other materials that may have affected their radiocarbon content.Any carbon-containing material that affects the carbon 14 content of any given sample is therefore a contaminant.

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