Monday, 26 July 2010

New method could revolutionize dating of ancient treasures

Not Luxor news but non the less very relevant. It constantly fascinates me how much archeology is changing and how new scientific methods are giving us information not thought possible just a few years ago. I attended a lecture where they were analysing the paint using non destructive methods and able to identify different artists. But this one could be totally revolutionary.

New method could revolutionize dating of ancient treasures: "In conventional dating methods, scientists remove a small sample from an object, such as a cloth or bone fragment. Then they treat the sample with a strong acid and a strong base and finally burn the sample in a small glass chamber to produce carbon dioxide gas to analyze its C-14 content.

Rowe's new method, called 'non-destructive carbon dating,' eliminates sampling, the destructive acid-base washes, and burning. In the new method, scientists place an entire artifact in a special chamber with a plasma, an electrically charged gas similar to gases used in big-screen plasma television displays. The gas slowly and gently oxidizes the surface of the object to produce carbon dioxide for C-14 analysis without damaging the surface, he said.

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