Sample size

For normal radiocarbon dating, we require samples of the following size, depending on the material:


Minimum amount


Wood (dry)

20 mg



20 mg


Plant remains

5 mg


Textiles, leather, paper

10 mg



10 mg

e.g. shells, foraminifera


200-1000 mg

depending on collagen content

Soil, sediment

200 mg


Atmospheric samples



Small samples



Instructions for taking, packing and sending samples

  • Avoid contamination through skin contact, dust, fiber from clothing and paper tissues
  • Pack in unused aluminum foil and an unused sealable plastic bag, or an unused glass or plastic container
  • Label the containers with the samples clearly and legibly
  • Send an electronic list of samples (see link below) to
  • Enclose a print-out of the list with the samples
  • Ensure that the container or plastic bag is firmly closed
  • Mail, protecting the contents with soft packing material


Micro-samples are measured by introducing the samples into the MICADAS in the form of carbon dioxide. To do this the samples are sealed in ampoules of a set size. The accuracy of the measurement is lower than in normal radiocarbon dating, with uncertainties in the range of 1-2% for modern samples.

For more details, contact directly

Measuring accuracy

Normal radiocarbon dating has an accuracy of 3‰ (equivalent to ±24 years for the conventional radiocarbon age) for a contemporary sample. Measurements of higher accuracy are available on request.

The calendar age is determined based on the conventional radiocarbon age, which is then calibrated using the IntCal20 calibration database. We perform calibrations for individual samples. Complete chronologies can be established on request.

Processing time

It is our aim to keep the processing time as short as possible. At present, we can perform the complete dating process within a period of 1 month.