Fluoride (or fluorine) dating is a relative dating method that can be used to date archaeological bone.
As a relative dating method, it can determine the relative age of specimens, but cannot provide a calendrical date unless the fluoride chronology is calibrated with an absolute dating method.
In relative dating, archaeologists interpret artifacts based on their positions within the (horizontal layering) of the soil.
This covers cleaning the sample, preparing it for analysis, making three replicate measurements on each specimen, calculation of the fluoride content, and entry of data into a spreadsheet.
Statistical evaluation of the data and consulting reports are available on request.
Over time, buried bones pick up fluoride ions from soil moisture or exposure to groundwater.
Older specimens have higher fluoride contents than younger ones when burial conditions are identical.
One of the most widely used methods of determining the absolute date of organic materials is radiocarbon (carbon 14) dating .
Because all living organisms contain a radioactive form of carbon (carbon 14) that decays at a known and steady rate, archaeologists can determine an organic object's age (if it is less than 40,000 years old) by measuring the amount of carbon 14 remaining in the object.A desciption of the method is given in: Schurr, Mark R.1989.Fluoride dating of prehistoric bones by ion selective electrode. It can be used to determine the relative dates of faunal materials.The resulting fluor-apatite is more stable than the original form, thus the fluoride content of a bone will increase over time if it is exposed to a solution containing fluoride ions.Fluoride ions are present in trace amounts in most soils and groundwaters.Fluoride dating has been successfully used in a wide variety of settings, ranging from extremely arid Sudanese Nubia, to the humid eastern USA.