Radiocarbon Dating Lab

Since 1968, the ISGS Radiocarbon Dating Laboratories have provided high quality sample preparation and analytical services to University of Illinois staff and researchers, as well as, external researchers and the public.  To date the lab has processed and/or analyzed over 7000 samples and has a long standing relationship with the University of California - Irvine’s Keck Carbon Cycle Accelerator Mass Spectrometer Laboratory.  We accept a variety of sample types (listed below) and any number of samples can be submitted.  The laboratory provides a range of services and specializes in the areas of geological and archeological sciences.  Services are provided at an internal rate for the University of Illinois and at an external rate for other researchers as noted below. For more information, contact Matthew Fort (; +1-217-244-7692), the Radiocarbon Laboratory Analyst.

 Samples and Services

The Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory accepts a variety of samples including:

  • Wood, charcoal, and parchment
  • Bone collagen with or without extraction

 Additional types of samples may be accepted. Please contact the lab with sample submission questions.

 In addition to sample preparation, other related services are offered upon request, including:

  • 14C age calibration
  • δ13C of sample
  • δ13C and δ18O of sample
  • δ13C and δ15N & weight percentage nitrogen and carbon of sample

Sample Submission

Before mailing any samples, please contact the lab at to discuss the number and types of samples.  After we have discussed your samples and the analytical requirements, complete and submit one sample submission form per sample.  Shipments must include an inventory list of samples with the name and address of the shipper.

Samples can be mailed to: 

Matthew A. Fort
615 E. Peabody Drive
Natural Resources Building
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Champaign, IL 61820

To avoid contamination of the sample prior, during, and after shipment please ensure:

  • Samples are always stored in cool and dry locations to discourage the growth of fungal or bacterial cultures.
  • Never handle with tools or store samples in areas where 14C tracer material may have been used.
  • Individually wrap and clearly label each sample.
  • When shipping samples, be sure to avoid wrapping samples in paper, or packing materials that are lubricated with oil, waxes or any other organic materials. The best packing materials are:  glass vials, plastic vials, or aluminum foil.

If your laboratory or the equipment in it have ever been used for 14C tracer studies, please contact the lab to discuss testing for cross contamination.  It is vitality important to test for remnant 14C tracer to avoid contamination of samples and laboratory spaces. For further information, please see Swipe Protocol (compiled by the University of Irvine AMS facility) for more information on the swipe methods and procedures. In addition to the above considerations, see Avoiding 14C Tracer Contamination (compiled by the University of Irvine AMS facility) for more helpful tips to avoid 14C contamination during sample storage and preparation.


Pricing of sample preparation and AMS analysis varies depending on sample type and whether you are internal to or external to the University of Illinois system (see below)

ISGS AMS 14C Rates Since 01/09/2017

Dating Material 


Bone/Dentin collagen with extraction$475$595
Bone/Dentin collagen without extraction $339$425
Soil organic matter (bulk)$328$410

Special Services

Sample data management$21$26 
14C age calibration$21$26
δ13C requested $10$13
δ13C and δ18O requested  $15$19

We are unable to accommodate lower per sample costs for bulk submissions.

Billing and Payment

Invoices are generated and sent with results of analysis.  U of I researchers should specify U of I funds (i.e., CFOP) to be used for payment during sample submission.

External submitters should receive a UIUC Banner account prior to sample submission. The lab can assist in setting up a Banner account.  Payment can be made online by going to and logging in with the UIUC Banner account number assigned to your department, group, or business. Please reference the invoice number during payment.

Payments can also be mailed to:

University of Illinois Payment Center

General A/R

28394 Network Place

Chicago, IL 60673‐1283

ISGS FEIN# 37-6000511

When making out your payment, please be sure to reference the invoice number, your UIUC Banner account number, and University of Illinois Fund number and make payable to University of Illinois, Fund 304203.