Radiocarbon dating age

The ensuing atomic interactions create a steady supply of c14 that rapidly diffuses throughout the atmosphere.Plants take up c14 along with other carbon isotopes during photosynthesis in the proportions that occur in the atmosphere; animals acquire c14 by eating the plants (or other animals). Since carbon is fundamental to life, occurring along with hydrogen in all organic compounds, the detection of such an isotope might form the basis for a method to establish the age of ancient materials. Libby, a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Chicago, predicted that a radioactive isotope of carbon, known as carbon-14, would be found to occur in nature.

However, when the organism dies, the amount of c14 declines such that the longer the time since death the lower the levels of c14 in organic tissue.

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.

To give an example if a sample is found to have a radiocarbon concentration exactly half of that for material which was modern in 1950 the radiocarbon measurement would be reported as 5568 BP.

For two important reasons, this does not mean that the sample comes from 3619 BC: Many types of tree reliably lay down one tree ring every year.

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In contrast, from 1955 to 1963, atmospheric radiocarbon levels almost doubled.

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