Carbon dating bones
This would seem reasonable for a medieval nobleman, and certainly for a member of the royal family.Allowing for this factor, and bearing in mind that the results cannot be later than 1538, a Bayesian statistic modelling technique gives the approximate date as AD1475-1530 (with a 69% confidence).If at all possible, fragile macrofossils that would not have survived transport are preferred.If terrestrial macrofossils are not available then humic acids may be the best alternative provided the lake has a reasonably high organic carbon content and the sediments have not been dried out and exposed at times (in that case see Soil above).C-12 and C-13 are stable but C-14 decays at a known rate, with a half-life of 5,568 years.University of Leicester archaeologists took four small samples from one of the ribs of the Greyfriars skeleton and sent them to two specialist units with the facilities to analyse them: the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC) at the University of Glasgow, and the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, part of the University of Oxford’s Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art.
The mass spectrometry of the Greyfriars bone samples reveals that the individual in question had a high-protein diet including a significant proportion of seafood.
Identifiable terrestrial plant remains (macrofossils) are therefore usually the preferred samples for radiocarbon dating lake sediments.
There is the possibility of re-worked macrofossils being deposited in the lake.
This does not, of course, prove that the bones are those of Richard III.
What it does is remove one possibility which could have proved that these are not Richard’s remains.There is no charge for the pre-screening, however please see our for dating at guidelines for selecting bones We remove the mineral component of the bones because it is not reliable for dating.