Effective range of radiocarbon dating
Various geologic, atmospheric and solar processes can influence atmospheric carbon-14 levels.Since the 1960s, scientists have started accounting for the variations by calibrating the clock against the known ages of tree rings.The clock was initially calibrated by dating objects of known age such as Egyptian mummies and bread from Pompeii; work that won Willard Libby the 1960 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.But even he “realized that there probably would be variation”, says Christopher Bronk Ramsey, a geochronologist at the University of Oxford, UK, who led the latest work, published today in Science.A wide range of sample types can be submitted for dating.We can advise on the suitability of different materials and the most effective pretreatments.History, anthropology, and archaeology are three distinct but closely related bodies of knowledge that tell man of his present by virtue of his past.Historians can tell what cultures thrived in different regions and when they disintegrated.
Organisms capture a certain amount of carbon-14 from the atmosphere when they are alive.
Table 1 shows the ideal weights necessary to achieve the level of precision (standard error) listed in Table 2.
* Recommended weights given are for clean, dry material.
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.
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.