Sample Types and Quantities

The following table summarizes the recommended ideal and minimum weights for different sample types. For solid materials, this means the weight of the dry sample. If you did not find your material in the table or you are not sure about the material, please contact the laboratory.  Dating samples with weight lower than the minimum carries an increased risk of failure. With the consent of the client, it is possible to try to date such samples as well.

Sample type Weight (mg) Notes
ideal minimal  
wood 50 15 For rotted or water-soaked wood, the minimum weight must be increased.
charred sample 20 5 For example, charcoals, charred macro-residues.
carbonates 150 50 For example, mollusk shells, mortar, sinter.
bones 1000 500 Depending on the condition of the bone (see text bellow the table).
ivory 200 20  
plant macro-residues 200 20 For example, peat, seeds, pollen, concentrates, plant parts
paper 25 15  
leather, horn, silk, hair, woolen fabrics 30 15  
biofuels         Contact us
art objects         Contact us
lipids in pottery         Contact us

In radiocarbon dating of bones by collagen isolation and purification, it is difficult to ensure sufficient decontamination of highly degraded samples from interfering humic acids, which are very tightly bound. For this reason, the laboratory has implemented a bone quality assessment procedure. Several parameters determined during the processing of these samples are used for this evaluation. The dating results of low-quality samples are rather indicative, and the laboratory, therefore, recommends caution when handling such results. Bone samples with collagen concentrations of less than 1% are labelled by the CRL laboratory as undatable, as is the case with other radiocarbon laboratories.