Radiocarbon dating how stuff works


03-Aug-2016 12:55

Carbon-14 normally makes up about 1 trillionth (1/1,000,000,000,000) of the earth’s atmosphere.

So even brand-new samples contain incredibly tiny quantities of radiocarbon.

This provides good information, but it only indicates how long ago that piece of wood was cut from a living tree.

Radiocarbon dating can’t tell the difference between wood that was cut and immediately used for the spear, and wood that was cut years before being re-used for that purpose.

For this reason, it’s preferable to date objects using multiple methods, rather than relying on one single test.

UK scientists investigated the most suitable techniques for extracting the highest-quality collagen from archaeological bones.

I recently shared a story that included radiocarbon dating.



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