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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.
Then, by using the idea that the styles of objects evolve, becoming increasing elaborate over time, they could place them in order relative to each other - a technique called seriation.
In this way large domed tombs (known as tholos or beehive tombs) in Greece were thought to predate similar structures in the Scottish Island of Maeshowe.
This supported the idea that the classical worlds of Greece and Rome were at the centre of all innovations.
Radiocarbon dates are presented in two ways because of this complication.
The uncalibrated date is given with the unit BP (radiocarbon years before 1950).
Isotopes of a particular element have the same number of protons in their nucleus, but different numbers of neutrons.