Carbon dating paint

C analyses were conducted on signed and dated paintings from two Swiss artists of the twentieth century.The selected paintings dated from the 1930s and 1960s, provided the opportunity to evaluate the dating accuracy on paintings realized before and after 1950 AD when the C bomb peak was created, as a result of the nuclear tests conducted in the 1950/1960s.

The most suitable types of sample for radiocarbon dating are charcoal and well-preserved wood, although leather, cloth, paper, peat, shell and bone can also be used.

Because of the somewhat short half-life of 14C, radiocarbon dating is not applicable to samples with ages greater than about 50,000 years, because the remaining concentration would be too small for accurate measurement.

Thermoluminescence dating: this method is associated with the effect of the high energy radiation emitted as a result of the decay or radioactive impurities.

Radiocarbon dating: radioactive carbon decays to nitrogen with a half-life of 5730 years.

In dead material, the decayed 14C is not replaced and its concentration in the object decreases slowly.

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If blood has been used 20,000 years ago by Australian Aborigenes, vegetal oils were identified in the binder of the Magdalenian paintings of Fontanet cave in Arige (France) (Pepe C et al., C R Acad Sci Paris 1991, 312, 929).

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