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In 2008 we could only calibrate radiocarbon dates until 26,000 years.

Now the curve extends (tentatively) to 50,000 years.

The uncalibrated date is given with the unit BP (radiocarbon years before 1950).

This method requires less than 1g of bone, but few countries can afford more than one or two AMSs, which cost more than A0,000.

Australia has two machines dedicated to radiocarbon analysis, and they are out of reach for much of the developing world.

In addition, samples need to be thoroughly cleaned to remove carbon contamination from glues and soil before dating.

This is particularly important for very old samples.

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