A new procedure for extraction of collagen from modern and archaeological bones for 14C dating

  • F. Maspero
  • S. Sala
  • M. E. Fedi
  • M. Martini
  • A. Papagni
Technical Note


Bones are potentially the best age indicators in a stratigraphic study, because they are closely related to the layer in which they are found. Collagen is the most suitable fraction and is the material normally used in radiocarbon dating. Bone contaminants can strongly alter the carbon isotopic fraction values of the samples, so chemical pretreatment for 14 C dating by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) is essential. The most widespread method for collagen extraction is based on the Longin procedure, which consists in HCl demineralization to dissolve the inorganic phase of the samples, followed by dissolution of collagen in a weak acid solution. In this work the possible side effects of this procedure on a modern bone are presented; the extracted collagen was analyzed by ATR-IR spectroscopy. An alternative procedure, based on use of HF instead of HCl, to minimize unwanted degradation of the organic fraction, is also given. A study by ATR-IR spectroscopic analysis of collagen collected after different demineralization times and with different acid volumes, and a study of an archaeological sample, are also presented.


Radiocarbon Archaeometry Biological samples Bones Collagen 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Maspero
    • 1
  • S. Sala
    • 2
  • M. E. Fedi
    • 3
  • M. Martini
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • A. Papagni
    • 2
  1. 1.CUDaM, University of Milano BicoccaMilanoItaly
  2. 2.Materials Science DepartmentUniversity of Milano BicoccaMilanoItaly
  3. 3.INFN sezione di FirenzeSesto Fiorentino (Firenze)Italy
  4. 4.INFN sezione di Milano BicoccaMilanoItaly

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