Sample requirements and design of an inter-laboratory trial for radiocarbon laboratories

C Bryant, I Carmi, G Cook, S Gulliksen, D Harkness, J Heinemeier, E McGee, P Naysmith, G Possnert, H van der Plicht, M van Strydonck, Israel Carmi

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An on-going inter-comparison programme which is focused on assessing and establishing consensus protocols to be applied in the identification, selection and sub-sampling of materials for subsequent C-14 analysis is described. The outcome of the programme will provide a detailed quantification of the uncertainties associated with C-14 measurements including the issues of accuracy and precision. Such projects have become recognised as a fundamental aspect of continuing laboratory quality assurance schemes, providing a mechanism for the harmonisation of measurements and for demonstrating the traceability of results.

The design of this study and its rationale are described. In summary, a suite of core samples has been defined which will be made available to both AMS and radiometric laboratories. These core materials are representative of routinely dated material and their ages span the full range of the applied C-14 time-scale. Two of the samples are of wood from the German and Irish dendrochronologies, thus providing a direct connection to the master dendrochronological calibration curve. Further samples link this new inter-comparison to past studies.

Sample size and precision have been identified as being of paramount importance in defining dating confidence, and so several core samples have been identified for more in-depth study of these practical issues. In addition to the core samples, optional samples have been identified and prepared specifically for either AMS and/or radiometric laboratories. For AMS laboratories, these include bone, textile, leather and parchment samples. Participation in the study requires a commitment to a minimum of 10 core analyses, with results to be returned within a year. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-358
Number of pages4
JournalNuclear Instruments & Methods in Physics Research Section B-Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct-2000
Event8th International Conference on Accelerator Mass Spectrometry - , Austria
Duration: 6-Sept-199910-Sept-1999


  • inter-comparison
  • radiocarbon
  • C-14

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