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A dental drill or a carborundum paper is used in the pretreatment of shell exteriors.When the visible contaminants have already been removed, the samples for carbon dating are then reduced in size by an applicable method to increase the surface area before further pretreatment.The pretreatment method employed depends on the type of sample and the possible contaminants.Radiocarbon dating labs must therefore be informed of the environmental conditions and preservation techniques done to the sample before carbon-14 analysis.

You are welcome to contact us to discuss the pretreatment or request that we contact you after the pretreatment (and prior to dating).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.Contaminated samples, naturally, will have inaccurate results.The specific effect of the contaminant on radiocarbon dating results depends on the type of contaminant, the degree of contamination, and the relative ages of the sample and the contaminant.

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