A technique for measuring the age of organic remains based on the rate of decay of carbon 14.
radiocarbon dating is one of the best known archaeological dating techniques available to scientists, and the many people in the general public have at least heard of it. But there are many misconceptions about how radiocarbon works and how reliable a technique it is.
What is radiocarbon dating? Radiocarbon dating is a method of what is known as absolute dating. Despite the name, it does not give an absolute date of organic material - but an approximate age, usually within a range of a few years either way.
Radiocarbon dating Wikipedia
Radiocarbon dating (also referred to as carbon dating or carbon-14 dating) is a method for determining the age of an object containing organic material by using the properties of radiocarbon, a radioactive isotope of carbon. The method was developed in the late 1940s at the university of chicago by willard libby, who received the nobel prize in chemistry for his work in 1960.
It is based on the fact that radiocarbon ( c) is constantly being created in the atmosphere by the interaction of cosmic rays with atmospheric nitrogen.
radiocarbon dating is a technique used by scientists to learn the ages of biological specimens for example, wooden archaeological artifacts or ancient human remains .
Radiocarbon Dating American Chemical Society
Radiocarbon dating would be most successful if two important factors were true that the concentration of carbon-14 in the atmosphere had been constant for thousands of years, and that carbon-14 moved readily through the atmosphere, biosphere, oceans and other reservoirsin a process known as the carbon cycle.
It is based on the fact that radiocarbon ( c) is constantly being created in the atmosphere by the interaction of cosmic rays with atmospheric nitrogen. The resulting c combines with atmospheric oxygen to form radioactive carbon dioxide, which is incorporated into plants by photosynthesis animals then acquire c by eating the plants. When the animal or plant dies, it stops exchanging carbon with its environment, and thereafter the amount of c it contains begins to decrease as the c undergoes radioactive decay. Measuring the amount of c in a sample from a dead plant or animal, such as a piece of wood or a fragment of bone, provides information that can be used to calculate when the animal or plant died. The older a sample is, the less c there is to be detected, and because the half-life of c (the period of time after which half of a given sample will have decayed) is about 5,730 years, the oldest dates that can be reliably measured by this process date to approximately 50,000 years ago, although special preparation methods occasionally make accurate analysis of older samples possible.
Radiocarbon dating an archaeological perspective provides a review of some of the major advances and accomplishments of the 14c method from an archaeological perspective. The text also provides an introduction to some of the problems and issues involved in the use of 14c data in archaeological studies.