Radiocarbon dating cremated bone
During incineration, the apatite not only loses carbon but will also exchange carbon with the carbon dioxide in the pyre's atmosphere.
In most cases, this will not result in an erroneous age, but exceptions do occur.
The weighted mean age difference of all test samples is observed to −9 ± 60 C yr.
To test the indicators and the effects of the degree of burning, a Late-Neolithic human individual has been studied, as this individual exhibits the full spectrum from low temperature burning (charred) to high temperature (“cremated”) from one end of a single bone to the other.
The success of radiocarbon dating of burned or cremated bones depends on the exposed temperature during burning and the degree of re-crystallisation of the inorganic bone matrix.
We present a method for characterisation of likely cremated bones by employing visual inspection, infrared spectrometry and carbon stable isotope analysis on the bio-apatite fraction.
Recent laboratory experiments reveal that the properties of the combustion atmosphere play a significant role regarding the source carbon in cremated bones.
14C dates on the Late Bronze Age urnfield and Merovingian cemetery at Borsbeek in Belgium shed new light on Merovingian funerary practices.
Inhumation was the dominant funerary rite in this period in the Austrasian region.
In the Scheldt Valley, however, some cremations are known, termed , which consist of the deposition of a mix of cremated bone and the remnants from the pyre in the grave pit.
14C dates from Borsbeek show that other ways of deposition of cremated bone in this period existed.