SUERC Radiocarbon Laboratory

About the Lab

Established in 1967 at Glasgow University, the Radiocarbon Laboratory has been based at SUERC since 1986. The laboratory has the capacity to prepare up to 34 graphite targets per day for AMS dating, with approximately 30% of the targets produced contributing to our in-house Quality Assurance programme.

In addition to taking an active part in a number of research projects, the laboratory carries out age measurements under contract to Historic Environment Scotland and Historic England. We also provide a radiocarbon dating service to national museums, academic staff in a large number of universities worldwide, and many UK and European commercial archaeology units.

The laboratory can provide advice on sample selection, full sample pretreatment and graphite target preparation, stable isotope measurement, 14C analysis at the SUERC AMS Laboratory and subsequent calibration of results to the calendar timescale. If requested, the laboratory's chronological modelling team can additionally create a Bayesian site-model.

We can also provide the following, with or without radiocarbon dating:

  1. 15N, 13C and 34S measurements on bone collagen for palaeodietary studies
  2. 18O and 87Sr/86Sr measurements on tooth enamel for tracing the geographic origins of people.

We also have an expert in pottery identification (Derek Hall: email Derek) associated with the laboratory.

For measurement of sedimentation rates for recent, accumulating sediment and peat deposits using the Unsupported 210Pb Dating technique, please contact Dr Gillian MacKinnon (email Gillian).

 

Our Staff

Under the direction of Professor Gordon Cook, eleven highly trained members of SUERC staff carry out all 14C analyses and chronological modelling. Laboratory staff members have several decades of collective experience in radiocarbon dating, thus ensuring good continuity of the quality of the analytical service.


SUERC Radiocarbon Laboratory (l-r): Iain Murdoch, Helen Kinch, Brian Tripney, Kerry Sayle, Tony Krus, Gordon Cook, Derek Hamilton, Linzi Straub, Philip Naysmith, Kerrie‑Anne Lang, Graham Muir, Elaine Dunbar.


Every effort is made to provide a very personal service and most submitters are now well known to the Radiocarbon Laboratory staff. We welcome contact or visits from submitters.

Laboratory personnel are always on hand to provide advice on any aspects of the dating technique.