Reservoir effect radiocarbon dating

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The half-life is the time taken for an amount of a radioactive isotope to decay to half its original value.

Because this decay is constant it can be used as a “clock” to measure elapsed time assuming the starting amount is known.

This has been demonstrated through direct dating of bulk collagen from human bones and the remains of ungulate bone projectile points that were found embedded in them (Cook et al. We present improvements to a novel HPLC method for the detection and separation of underivatized amino acids using a water-only mobile phase free of organic or inorganic modifiers, ensuring very low carbon backgrounds.

Our hypothesis is that direct 14C dating of single essential and non-essential amino acids might allow an improvement in the dating accuracy for reservoir-affected human bones.

These newly formed 14C atoms rapidly oxidize to form 14CO..

Photosynthesis incorporates 14C into plants and therefore animals that eat the plants.

The former is provided by the client to the lab before the analyses while the latter is part of the calibration program.The method facilitates separation of less polar amino acids (mostly “essential”), currently not possible in the recently published protocol.We discuss methodological developments, demonstrate carbon backgrounds, and present analytical approaches to minimize their effects.Atmospheric carbon (expressing the "real" ages) can be mixed with older carbon from allochthonous input (e.g.marl or limestone), causing an overestimation of 14C ages.

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