Each individually wrapped sample should be clearly labeled and packed in a sturdy container. Each shipment should contain a packing list including the name and address of the shipper.
Large rock and mineral samples can be sent in heavy plastic or fabric bags. Smaller samples and mineral separates should be sent in plastic bags, or plastic vials with secured tops. Samples sent in glass vials should be individually wrapped in several layers of packing material.
Samples sent for radiocarbon age determinations should be protected from sources of extraneous carbon. Charcoal and wood samples should be wrapped in aluminum foil or heavy plastic and should not be wrapped in paper.
Liquid samples should be sent in strong plastic vials or bottles with secured tops. Aqueous samples which may freeze during shipment should be allowed a 10% air space for expansion. Glass containers should not be used for any sample which may freeze. Certain types of food and biomedical samples which must be shipped frozen should be packed in dry ice in Styrofoam containers, and sent by overnight courier.
Prepared gas samples for stable isotope analysis are best sent in small break-seal vials. Larger gas samples for 14C or stable isotope analysis should be sent in gas bags or gas sample cylinders.
Within the continental U.S. and Canada, we recommend shipping by airmail, priority mail, or courier. For samples requiring immediate attention, shipment should be made by an overnight/express courier service. Foreign shipments should be sent by airmail or international air courier. All samples which must pass through U.S. Customs should be clearly labeled "SCIENTIFIC SAMPLES - NO COMMERCIAL VALUE". Do not claim a total value of more than US$10.