Carbon dating system accuracy

24-Apr-2016 19:29 by 10 Comments

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In last Tuesday’s lecture, radiocarbon dating was covered briefly.

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Unfortunately, the amount of Carbon-14 in the atmosphere has not been steady throughout history.

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.

Since its conception by Willard Libby in 1949, it has been invaluable to the discipline.

This magnificent technology is the most important innovation in archaeological history.

Archaeologists have the most accurate readings they are likely to ever receive!

The isotope decreased by a small fraction due to the combustion of fossil fuels, among other factors.

However, the quantity of Carbon-14 was nearly doubled in the ’50s and ’60s because of the atomic bomb testings in those decades.

They risk seriously altering the result of the test.

The “Old Wood Problem” is the last flaw of radiocarbon dating that will be elaborated upon here.

Since trees can have a lifespan of hundreds of years, its date of death might not even be relatively close to the date the archaeologists are looking for.

Thorough research and cautiousness can eliminate accidental contamination and avoidable mistakes.

The answer to the problem of fluctuating amounts of this important isotope is calibration.