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The tooth was found at a site near Coyote Creek north of Mora.The machine is used to date artifacts without damaging to the sample.“We can flake off a piece” and date it, Blinman said.“If the ink is old, then it’s real.”Rowe is probably the world’s foremost authority on radiocarbon rock art dating.So he has bled off high-purity oxygen into a reservoir that we will then tap as we generate plasmas,” Blinman said.And what’s unique about “Marvin’s Machine” is that it has five chambers, so multiple samples can be tested at once. “To my knowledge, nobody has gotten more than one plasma running at one time.”The Archaeology Institute of America’s Archaeology magazine named Rowe’s non-destructive dating method one of the Top 10 discoveries of 2010.Plasmas are used in television displays and in florescent lights, which use electricity to excite gas and create glowing plasma.

A buffalo tooth rests in a tube of the Low Energy Plasma Radiocarbon Sampling machine located in the New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies lab.Most of them that I’ve encountered are inorganic pigments and that’s where the importance of the small sample comes in.”Blinman adds that, under the best of circumstances, standard radiocarbon dating requires 30 milligrams of carbon.Rock art pigments don’t have that much carbon in them.Currently, there are only three LEPRS machines in existence – one in Michigan and one in Arkansas, both procured by former students of Rowe – but the one at the lab located at the New Mexico Office of Archeological Studies off N. 599 in south Santa Fe is the most sophisticated.“Marvin has learned so much from the previous two (machines) about their construction and their use that when we offered him space and the opportunity to build one here, it was sort of like he was able to do all the things he sort of wanted to do, but couldn’t under the circumstances of the research at Texas A&M,” said Blinman.Using plasma to scrub artifacts Traditional carbon dating estimates age based on content of carbon-14 (C-14), a naturally occurring, radioactive form of carbon, and requires destruction of an object.

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