Cold plasma oxidation and "nondestructive" radiocarbon dating


A decade ago, with partial funding from the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, marvin Rowe and his students at TexasA&M University developed a cold plasma oxidation method for"nondestructive" radiocarbon sampling of organic materials. This sampling approach is applied to the whole artifact, is carried out under vacuum, plasma temperatures can be maintained below 100C, only organic carbon is oxidized (carbonate and oxalate are not sampled), and sampling leaves the artifact virtually unaffected. This approach takes advantage of the AMS direct dating potential of samples as small as 100 micrograms, and since the sample is in the form of carbon dioxide, no further treatment is required at select AMS labs. A new and improved cold plasma device has been constructed at the Office of Archaeological Studies, resulting in a more efficient procedure with even lower temperatures. We report on the design innovations and on additional experiments in sampling.

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Cite this Record

Cold plasma oxidation and "nondestructive" radiocarbon dating. Marvin Rowe, Eric Blinman, Jeffrey Cox, John Martin, Mark MacKenzie. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396864)