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It is in knowing what made past cultures cease to exist that could provide the key in making sure that history does not repeat itself.

Over the years, archaeology has uncovered information about past cultures that would have been left unknown had it not been with the help of such technologies as radiocarbon dating, dendrochronology, archaeomagnetic dating, fluoride dating, luminescence dating, and obsidian hydration analysis, among others.

The sample-context relationship is not always straightforward.

Date of a sample pre-dates the context it is found.

Other potential contaminants include paper, cardboard, cotton wool, string and cigarette ash.3.

Sample storage Samples must be stored in packaging materials that will protect them during transport and even during prolonged storage.

Other labs accept waterlogged wood while others prefer them dry at submission.2.

The unstable and radioactive carbon 14, called radiocarbon, is a naturally occurring isotope of the element carbon.

When a living thing dies, it stops interacting with the biosphere, and the carbon 14 in it remains unaffected by the biosphere but will naturally undergo decay.

Sample collection Contaminants must not be introduced to the samples during collection and storing.

Hydrocarbons, glue, biocides, polyethylene glycol or polyvinyl acetate (PVA) must not come in contact with samples for radiocarbon dating.

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