Please see section on sample section and identification to determine the types of material suitable for analysis and for information on restrictions on what we can date.
Also see our information on methods for further information including the expected precision of our measurements.
This section covers the submission of standard sample types. If you are a scientist interested in submission of pre-prepared material or joint research projects, please contact the laboratory.
All samples submitted to the laboratory must be accompanied by a sample submission form that gives the details of the sample we need. This form is available online.
In addition, we would ask submitters to look at our Policy on the dating of Antiquities and sign our terms and conditions.
If you are unable to submit the form online for any reason spreadsheet or paper forms can be sent (please contact our administrator).
For the cost of the dating work we carry out please see our Schedule of charges. Cheques should be made payable to the University of Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit.
For details of possible help with funding, see Funding.
We are always seeking to keep turn-around times to a minimum but some delay is inevitable because of the complexity of the dating process and because of fluctuations in demand.
The current estimated turnaround time for commercial samples submitted now is:
Samples should be well protected in packaging that is not likely to contaminate the samples. Plastic bags are normally fine but it is best to use those designed for use with food as these are likely to have lower plasticiser levels, and to wrap the samples in them in aluminium foil. For small samples, glass tubes with screw on tops are preferable - use aluminium foil under the lids to prevent the samples sticking to the lids, which are usually plastic.
Water samples should be stored in inert plastic bottles with tightly sealed screw tops and a negligible air gap.
First fill in the online sample submission form and then send a printed copy of this with a signed copy of the terms and conditions, and the samples to:Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit
Samples are normally taken within the laboratory where we have all the necessary facilities. Please contact the lab if you require sampling to be done at another location of if particular expertise might be required that we don't have in-house.