Hostname: page-component-f7d5f74f5-47svn Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-10-02T07:04:45.966Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "coreDisableSocialShare": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForArticlePurchase": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForBookPurchase": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForElementPurchase": false, "coreUseNewShare": true, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

Ultrafiltration of Bone Samples is Neither the Problem nor the Solution

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 February 2016

Réka-Hajnalka Fülöp*
Institute of Geology and Mineralogy, University of Cologne, 50674 Cologne, Germany
Stefan Heinze
Institute of Nuclear Physics, University of Cologne, 50674 Cologne, Germany
Svetlana John
Institute of Geology and Mineralogy, University of Cologne, 50674 Cologne, Germany
Janet Rethemeyer
Institute of Geology and Mineralogy, University of Cologne, 50674 Cologne, Germany
2Corresponding author. Email:


We conducted analyses to identify the most suitable bone pretreatment protocol to be used by the recently established Radiocarbon Laboratory at the University of Cologne, CologneAMS. In 2 sets of analyses, we determined 14C ages for subsamples taken from 3 14C bone standards (Oxford Mammoth, VIRI I, and VIRI H) complemented by age determinations of 12 unknown bone samples. Our results suggest that the strength and duration of the acid and alkali steps and the temperature of gelatinization might have a larger influence on the obtained ages than the presence or absence of ultrafiltration as a pretreatment step.

Copyright © 2013 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Ambrose, SH. 1990. Preparation and characterization of bone and tooth collagen for isotopic analysis. Journal of Archaeological Science 17(4):431–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ambrose, SH, Krigbaum, J. 2003. Bone chemistry and bioarchaeology. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 22(3):193–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Arslanov, KA, Svezhentsev, YS. 1993. An improved method for radiocarbon dating fossil bones. Radiocarbon 35(3):387–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Beaumont, W, Beverly, R, Southon, J, Taylor, RE. 2010. Bone preparation at the KCCAMS laboratory. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 268(7–8):906–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brock, F, Bronk Ramsey, C, Higham, TFG. 2007. Quality assurance of ultrafiltered bone dating. Radiocarbon 49(2):187–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bronk Ramsey, C, Higham, T, Bowles, A, Hedges, R. 2004. Improvements to the pretreatment of bone at Oxford. Radiocarbon 46(1):155–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brown, TA, Nelson, DE, Vogel, JS, Southon, JR. 1988. Improved collagen extraction by modified Longin method. Radiocarbon 30(2):171–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Buckley, M, Whitcher Kansa, S, Howard, S, Campbell, S, Thomas-Oates, J, Collins, M. 2010. Distinguishing between archaeological sheep and goat bones using a single collagen peptide. Journal of Archaeological Science 37(1):1320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Buckley, M, Larkin, N, Collins, M. 2011. Mammoth and mastodon collagen sequences; survival and utility. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 75(7):2007–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Caputo, I, Lepretti, M, Scarabino, C, Esposito, C, Proto, A. 2012. An acetic acid-based extraction method to obtain high quality collagen from archeological bone remains. Analytical Biochemistry 421(1):92–6.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Collins, MJ, Riley, MS, Child, AM, Turner-Walker, G. 1995. A basic mathematical simulation of the chemical degradation of ancient collagen. Journal of Archaeological Science 22(2):175–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Collins, MJ, Galley, P. 1998. Towards an optimal method of archaeological collagen extraction; the influence of pH and grinding. Ancient Biomolecules 2:209–22.Google Scholar
Collins, MJ, Nielsen-Marsh, CM, Hiller, J, Smith, CI, Roberts, JP, Prigodich, RV, Wess, TJ, Csapò, J, Millard, AR, Turner-Walker, G. 2002. The survival of organic matter in bone: a review. Archaeometry 44(3):383–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dewald, A, Heinze, S, Jolie, J, Zilges, A, Dunai, T, Rethemeyer, J, Melles, M, Staubwasser, M, Kuczewski, B, Richter, J, Radtke, U, von Blanckenburg, F, Klein, M. 2013. CologneAMS, a dedicated Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry in Germany. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 294:1823.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gillespie, R, Hedges, REM, Humm, MJ. 1986. Routine AMS dating of bone and shell proteins. Radiocarbon 28(2A):451–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gurfinkel, DM. 1987. Comparative study of the radiocarbon dating of different bone collagen preparations. Radiocarbon 29(1):4552.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hajdas, I, Michczyński, A, Bonani, G, Wacker, L, Furrer, H. 2009. Dating bones near the limit of the radiocarbon dating method: study case mammoth from Niederweningen, ZH Switzerland. Radiocarbon 52(2):675–80.Google Scholar
Hedges, REM, Law, IA. 1989. The radiocarbon dating of bone. Applied Geochemistry 4(3):249–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Higham, TFG, Jacobi, RM, Bronk Ramsey, C. 2006. AMS radiocarbon dating of ancient bone using ultrafiltration. Radiocarbon 48(2):179–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hüls, CM, Grootes, PM, Nadeau, M-J. 2007. How clean is ultrafiltration cleaning of bone collagen? Radiocarbon 49(2):193–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hüls, CM, Grootes, PM, Nadeau, M-J. 2009. Ultrafiltration: boon or bane? Radiocarbon 51(2):613–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Koon, HEC, Nicholson, RA, Collins, MJ. 2003. A practical approach to the identification of low temperature heated bone using TEM. Journal of Archaeological Science 30(11):1393–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lewis, SG, Maddy, D, Buckingham, C, Coope, GR, Field, MH, Keen, DH, Pike, AWG, Roe, DA, Scaife, RG, Scott, K. 2006. Pleistocene fluvial sediments, palaeontology and archaeology of the upper River Thames at Latton, Wiltshire, England. Journal of Quaternary Science 21(2):181–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Longin, R. 1971. New method of collagen extraction for radiocarbon dating. Nature 230(5291):241–2.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Nielsen-Marsh, CM, Hedges, REM, Mann, T, Collins, MJ. 2000. A preliminary investigation of the application of differential scanning calorimetry to the study of collagen degradation in archaeological bone. Thermochimica Acta 365(1–2):129–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rethemeyer, J, Fülöp, R-H, Höfle, S, Wacker, L, Heinze, S, Hajdas, I, Patt, U, König, S, Stapper, B, Dewald, A. 2013. Status report on sample preparation facilities for 14C analysis at the new CologneAMS center. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 294:168–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rudakova, TE, Zaikov, GE. 1987. Degradation of collagen and its possible applications in medicine. Polymer Degradation and Stability 18:271–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Santos, GM, Southon, JR, Drenzek, NJ, Ziolkowski, LA Druffel, E, Xu, X, Zhang, D, Trumbore, S, Eglinton, TI, Hughen, KA. 2010. Blank assessment for ultra-small radiocarbon samples: chemical extraction and separation versus AMS. Radiocarbon 52(2):1322–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schöninger, MJ, Moore, KM, Murray, ML, Kingston, JC. 1989. Detection of bone preservation in archeological and fossil samples. Applied Geochemistry 4:281–92.Google Scholar
Scott, EM, Cook, GT, Naysmith, P, Bryant, C, O'Donnell, D. 2007. A report on Phase 1 of the 5th International Radiocarbon Intercomparison (VIRI). Radiocarbon 49(2):409–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Scott, EM, Cook, GT, Naysmith, P. 2010. A report on phase 2 of the Fifth International Radiocarbon Intercomparison (VIRI). Radiocarbon 52(3):846–58.Google Scholar
Semal, P, Orban, R. 1995. Collagen extraction from recent and fossil bones quantitative and qualitative aspects. Journal of Archaeological Science 22(4):463–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stafford, TW Jr, Brendel, K, Duhamel, RC. 1988. Radiocarbon, 13C and 15N analysis of fossil bone: removal of humates with XAD-2 resin. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 52(9):2257–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Svyatko, SV, Hoper, ST, Reimer, PJ. 2012. The use of hot-washed Vivaspin™ filters for pretreatment of bone collagen for radiocarbon and stable isotope analyses: a revised Bronk Ramsey et al. (2004) methodology. Radiocarbon Conference 2012, Paris. S03-P-035.Google Scholar
Talamo, S. 2012. Refining 14C dating of bone >30,000 BP: establishing an accurate chronology for the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition in France , Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University.30,000+BP:+establishing+an+accurate+chronology+for+the+Middle+to+Upper+Palaeolithic+transition+in+France+,+Faculty+of+Archaeology,+Leiden+University.>Google Scholar
Tuross, N, Fogel, ML, Hare, PE. 1988. Variability in preservation of the isotopic composition of collagen from fossil bone. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 52(9):929–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Vogel, JS, Nelson, DE, Southon, J. 1987. 14C background levels in an AMS system. Radiocarbon 29(3):323–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
White, R, Mensan, R, Bourrillon, R, Cretin, C, Higham, TFG, Clark, AE, Sisk, ML, Tartar, E, Gardère, P, Goldberg, P, Pelegrin, J, Valladas, H, Tisnérat-Laborde, N, de Sanoit, J, Chambellan, D, Chiotti, L. 2012. Context and dating of Aurignacian vulvar representations from Abri Castanet, France. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109(22):8450–5.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Wood, RE, Bronk Ramsey, C, Higham, TFG. 2010. Refining background corrections for radiocarbon dating of bone collagen at ORAU. Radiocarbon 52(2):600–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Xiong, X. 2008. New insights into structure and function of Type I collagen , Institute for Interfacial Engineering at the University of Stuttgart.Google Scholar
Yuan, S, Wu, X, Gao, S, Wang, J, Cai, L, Liu, K, Li, K, Ma, H. 2000. Comparison of different bone pretreatment methods for AMS 14C dating. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 172(1–4):424–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar