Two common contaminants are humic acid, which can be removed with an alkali wash, and carbonates, which can be removed with acid.These treatments can damage the structural integrity of the sample and remove significant volumes of material, so the exact treatment decided on will depend on the sample size and the amount of carbon needed for the chosen measurement technique.Possible chemical, elemental and isotopic parameters for the assessment of “collagen” quality are discussed.
Use of collagenase to purify collagen from prehistoric bones for stable isotopic analysis.
Geologiska Foreningens i Stockholm Forhandlingar, 13-219.
AMS radiocarbon determinations on bone collagen from six individuals showed a calibrated 2σ range from 1027 BC to 1521 AD.
On the basis of this sample, the Swanport population appears to pre-date all European contact in Australia.
C dating and isotope palaeodietary analysis of bone.
The intactness and purity of the extracted gelatin (“collagen”) is strongly dependent on the extent of diagenetic degradation, contamination and the type of extraction method.These dates contradict previous assumptions that associated the Swanport burial population with a recent protohistoric period or a discrete period of time related to historic smallpox epidemics in the 19th century.The current chronometric range of approximately 2500 years for inhumations at Swanport indicates the use of the site as a burial ground over an extended period of time during the late Holocene. Higgs (eds), Science in Archaeology: A survey of progress and research, pp503-512. Fundamentals of bone degradation chemistry: Collagen is not "the way". Wood contains cellulose, lignin, and other compounds; of these, cellulose is the least likely to have exchanged carbon with the sample's environment, so it is common to reduce a wood sample to just the cellulose component before testing.