An optimized protocol allowed us to extract enough material to produce between 0.2 and 1.0 mg of carbon for graphite targets.Our approach was tested on known-age samples dating back to 40,000 BP, and served as proof of concept.Over the past decade, radiocarbon dating of the carbonate contained in the mineral fraction of calcined bones has emerged as a viable alternative to dating skeletal remains in situations where collagen is no longer present.However, anomalously low δ13C values have been reported for calcined bones, suggesting that the mineral fraction of bone is altered.Because hard tissues can be radiocarbon dated, they are key to establishing the archaeological chronologies, palaeoenvironmental reconstructions and historical-biogeographical processes of the last 50,000 years.
post-glacial recolonization events) of the last 50,000 years.
In effect, they provide us with windows to past societies, and contribute to our knowledge of ancient human evolution and cultural development.
Hard tissues contain an organic phase (mainly the protein collagen type I) embedded in a mineral phase (made of a non-stoichiometric biogenic apatite).
Experimental results suggest that the carbon remaining in bone after cremation likely comes from the original inorganic pool, highly fractionated due to rapid recrystallization.
Therefore, its reliability for 14C dating should be seen as close to that of tooth enamel, due to crystallographic properties of calcined bones.