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Posted by / 14-Mar-2019 14:27

Upon reaching the earth’s surface, a small percentage of carbon-14 containing carbon dioxide is taken up by plants and then incorporation into plant biomolecules via photosynthesis.

It becomes incorporated into the biomolecules of heterotrophic organisms (animals) via the food chain.

Radiocarbon dating, also known as carbon-14 dating, is a radioactive decay-based method for determining the age of organic remains that lived within the past 50,000 years.

Most carbon-14 is created from nitrogen-14 in the earth’s upper atmosphere as a consequence of cosmic ray bombardment.

Radiocarbon dating was the first chronometric technique widely available to archaeologists and was especially useful because it allowed researchers to directly date the panoply of organic remains often found in archaeological sites including artifacts made from bone, shell, wood, and other carbon based materials.

In contrast to relative dating techniques whereby artifacts were simply designated as "older" or "younger" than other cultural remains based on the presence of fossils or stratigraphic position, 14C dating provided an easy and increasingly accessible way for archaeologists to construct chronologies of human behavior and examine temporal changes through time at a finer scale than what had previously been possible.

The introduction of "old" or "artificial" carbon into the atmosphere (i.e., the "Suess Effect" and "Atom Bomb Effect", respectively) can influence the ages of dates making them appear older or younger than they actually are.

Please contact us to discuss these prior to sending samples.

The Radiocarbon Revolution Since its development by Willard Libby in the 1940s, radiocarbon (14C) dating has become one of the most essential tools in archaeology.

It is an essential technology that is heavily involved in archaeology and should be explored in greater depth.

Radiocarbon dating uses the naturally occurring isotope Carbon-14 to approximate the age of organic materials. Often, archaeologists use graves and plant remains to date sites.

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