9 when does carbon 14 dating become impractical

Radiocarbon dating may only be used on organic materials.

Wood and charcoal Bone, leather, hair, fur, horn and blood residue Peat, mud and soil Pottery where there is organic residue Wall paintings as they usually contain organic material such as crushed fruit and insects Paper and parchment The above list is not exhaustive; most organic material is suitable so long as it is of sufficient age and has not mineralised - dinosaur bones are out as they no longer have any carbon left.

Cost Clarify the costs involved in radiocarbon dating of samples.

Sample identification The carbon dating process is destructive, and labs usually advise their clients with regard to sample identification or labelling.

Types of contaminant Communication with clients also gives labs an idea of the possible types of contaminants in the excavation site.

Labs also want to avoid processing carbon dating samples that will yield large calendar ranges.

Radiocarbon dating results have insignificant value as in the case when the calibration curve is effectively flat and all calendar events in the period will produce about the same radiocarbon age.

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