Radiocarbon Dating For Art History

Brief Overview Of The Dating Process

Process involves five steps:

  1. Removal of a suitable sample from the object.
  2. Physical and chemical cleaning of the sample.
  3. Conversion of the sample to pure carbon dioxide (CO2).
  4. Determination of the 14C concentration in the CO2. For this the sample is sent to a specialist AMS laboratory.
  5. Calibration of this 14C concentration to produce a calendar age.

Points To Consider About Carbon Dating

Getting Your Object Sampled

Please contact us to discuss your object and requirements first before proceeding

We recommend that if at all possible, we take the sample for you. This allows us to discuss the sampling and measurement procedure with you at the time. Authenticity of the sampling is up-held by a photograph taken together with our unique laboratory reference number for the object.

How Much Sample Is Required

The quantity of sample that we require depends on the material being sampled. As a rough guide we need 50 to 100 mg of material. This equates to about one match stick sized piece for wood, or approximately half a postage stamp sized piece of textile. Smaller sample sizes can be accommodated, but please contact us.

How You Will Receive Your Results


No results will be disclosed to a third party unless we are instructed to do so by you.