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Bone & Animal Protein

Bone & Animal Protein

$349 Standard, $436 Expedited
Bone (non heat-treated): Preferred: >2 g, Minimum: 250 mg
Ivory: Preferred: >2 g, Minimum: 250 mg
Leather and parchment: Preferred: >50 mg, Minimum: 30 mg
Calcined bone: Preferred: >1 g, Minimum: 500 mg
Enamel: Preferred: >1 g, Minimum: 300 mg or 1 whole human tooth
Charred bone: Preferred: >1 g, Minimum: 300 mg
Keratin: Preferred: >100 mg, Minimum: 30 mg

$214 Standard, $268 Expedited
Pretreated any bone or protein: Preferred: >10 mg, Minimum: 5 mg

Please use our Submission Form to submit your samples.  Please contact us with any questions about your submission.

Non-heat-treated bone

Preferred submission:  >2 g
Minimum submission: 250 mg

Well-preserved bone will have a creamy-tan to brown color and a smooth, slightly glossy surface. The surface should be hard, not soft, brittle, or friable.  Our lab can attempt collagen extraction on cortical bone, trabecular bone, tooth dentine, or tusk/ivory dentine.






Seemingly well-preserved bone may nevertheless have localized discoloration due to mineral mottling or mold. Avoid sampling these regions when selecting material. When in doubt, submit the whole bone and allow our scientists to determine the best region to sample. 

Less than well-preserved bone will appear chalky, powdery, and whiter.  Mineral accumulation may also be recognizable, such as with manganese and iron, indicating collagen depletion.

Calcined (cremated) bone

Preferred submission:  >1 g
Minimum submission size: 500 mg  

Fully fired/cooked bone will have a white or gray-blue hue that is consistent all the way through. The surface may be hard or chalky and friable, depending on the heat and duration of the burn. 

Incompletely calcined bone will have a patchy distribution of calcined sections, with areas of black or brown. The browner sections are marginal material for reliable data and may be difficult to exclude.

Charred Bone

Preferred submission size: >1 g
Minimum submission size: 300 mg (fully charred)

Charred bone will appear dark brown to black in color. Texture will range from very hard and dense to soft and friable, depending on the heat and duration of the burn. It is important to select the most fully-charred, blackened section of bone, as this is most stable and likely to survive chemical pretreatment. 



Brown charred bone is considered marginal material. In general, it cannot withstand rigorous chemical pretreatment, and will therefore yield more uncertain dates. 

Leather and Parchment

Preferred submission size:  >50 mg
Minimum submission size:  30 mg

Leather and parchment are collagen-based animal tissues that have been culturally modified.  Ideal submissions are less than that for normal, non-heat-treated bone, but still more than typical organic submissions.  The chemical pretreatment removes any handling contaminants (e.g. synthetic applicants, grease from hands, spills) that can significantly diminish the mass.  Therefore, it is important that you submit as much material as can be afforded.  Please contact one of our scientists to help form a sampling strategy and minimize the potential destruction to your artifact.

Keratin-based materials

Preferred submission size:  >100 mg
Minimum submission size:  30 mg

Keratin protein materials include hair, horn, and nails.  These materials can be packaged in envelopes or small boxes with little risk of wear-and-tear from shipping.  However, each sample's integrity is variable during chemical pretreatment, so it is important to contact us so that we can address any concerns on the submission.

Pretreated bone, or collagen submissions

Preferred submission size:  >10 mg
Minimum submission size:  5 mg

It is preferable for collagen to be submitted in plastic or glass vials so that it can be easily prepared for combustion in our lab.  We accept traditionally filtered gelatin or ultrafiltered gelatin.  We recommend that collagen 'unknowns' also be submitted with bone reference standards and blanks that have been processed alongside those unknowns.