Mangalore University establishes facility for Carbon-14 dating of archaeological artefacts

The instrument used for batch combustion of organic material at the Centre for Advanced Research in Environmental Radioactivity (CARER) laboratory at Mangalore University.   | Photo Credit: CARER, Mangalore University

The Centre for Advanced Research in Environmental Radioactivity (CARER) at Mangalore University has established a facility for Carbon-14 dating of archaeological artefacts or material of biogenic origin based on Liquid Scintillation Counting technique.

Carbon-14 dating is a method for determining the age of an object containing organic material by using the properties of radiocarbon, a radioactive isotope of carbon. The method was developed in the late 1940s at the University of Chicago by Willard Libby, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to this work in 1960.

Measuring the amount of Carbon-14 in a sample from a dead plant or animal, such as a piece of wood or a fragment of bone, provides information that can be used to calculate when the animal or plant died, a release from the university said on Thursday.

This facility has been established through financial support from the Board of Research in Nuclear Sciences (BRNS), Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). Through a research project sanctioned by BRNS and with collaboration with Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai, the CARER had undertaken a study for standardising the method for Carbon-14 measurements in the vicinity of nuclear power plants, it said.

A team of scientists led by Karunakara N., a professor and coordinator, CARER, in collaboration with BARC has standardised a batch method for the thermal combustion of the samples by tube furnace system for Carbon-14 measurements. The spin-off application of this method is its application for determining the age of the material up to 30,000 years old, the release issued by K. Raju Mogaveera, Registrar (administration), said.

The CARER with state-of-the-art facilities has been established by the university as a national facility through financial support from BRNS. This is an advanced centre for radioecological and radiation protection research in the country with collaborations with many advanced laboratories of the world. The centre is serving the research needs of various research groups from national laboratories/institutions/universities. Those who are interested in using this facility may contact through email carermu@gmail.com, or drkarunakara@gmail.com. Phone : 0824 2888754.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 1:53:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/mangalore-university-establishes-facility-for-carbon-14-dating-of-archaeological-artefacts/article32916675.ece

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