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Great care must be exercised when linking an event with the context and the context with the sample to be processed by radiocarbon dating.An archaeologist must also make sure that only the useful series of samples are collected and processed for carbon dating and not every organic material found in the excavation site.Contaminants must not be introduced to the samples during collection and storing.

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The implication of what is represented by the carbon 14 activity of a sample must be considered.Other potential contaminants include paper, cardboard, cotton wool, string, and cigarette ash.Samples must be stored in packaging materials that will protect them during transport and even during prolonged storage.The sample-context relationship is not always straightforward.Date of a sample pre-dates the context it is found.