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College of Arts & Sciences


Heather Thakar
309E Department of Anthropology
TAMU 4352
College Station, TX 77843-4352

340 Spence Street
TAMU 4352
College Station, TX 77843-4352


The Radiocarbon and Isotope Preparation Laboratory at Texas A&M University focuses on the extraction and purification of carbon-containing samples from a wide variety of sample types including charcoal, carbonates, bone, and soil. The lab has been swiped for the presence of 14C tracer and maintains constant quality controls on radiocarbon processing with both PSUAMS and KCCAMS through use of international and internal known-age lab standards (e.g., OX-1, OX2, Prophet River Wood, Beaufort Whale, FIRI secondaries). Samples for AMS radiocarbon dating are prepped and combusted to CO2 gas before shipment to the AMS Radiocarbon Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University (PSUAMS) for graphitization and subsequent analysis on a National Electronics Corporation compact spectrometer with a 0.5MV accelerator (NEC 1.5SDH-1).

Our facilities include both dry- and wet-lab areas for sample storage and preparation with standard laboratory equipment including a fume hood, Millipore NanoPure water purifier, drying oven, freezer, freeze-dry lyophilizer, and balances. We are fully equipped for the preparation of samples for radiocarbon analyses, including ABA methods for charcoal and organics; Ultrafiltration and XAD for archaeological bone, and removal of mobile humin and humic fractions from soils for stable isotope measurements. We are also equipped for stable isotope preparation of archaeological and modern specimens including bone, teeth, shells, and plants to measure carbon (δ13C), nitrogen (δ15N), sulfur (δ34S), oxygen (δ18O), and strontium (87Sr/86Sr) isotopes. Key equipment for radiocarbon and stable isotope sample prep includes a Hettich Rotofix centrifuge, Virtis lyophilizer, Barnstead programmable muffle furnace, and a vacuum line for sealing radiocarbon samples prior to combustion. The combustion line is made with Swagelok Ultra-Torr fittings on stainless steel drawn by an oil-free Pfeiffer turbo pump, modeled on lines in use at KCCAMS at the University of California, Irvine.

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