Radiocarbon dating used
Despite its overuse and misrepresentation in the media, it is nonetheless extremely valuable.
This process has seriously assisted archaeologists in their research, excavations, and scholarly studies.
Carbon dating is used to work out the age of organic material — in effect, any living thing.
The technique hinges on carbon-14, a radioactive isotope of the element that, unlike other more stable forms of carbon, decays away at a steady rate.
Though it is not without its flaws, including several not mentioned here, it is truly an incredible creation that will be used for many years to come.
C and other radioisotopes and techniques used in archaeological, geophysical, oceanographic, and related dating. We also publish conference proceedings and monographs on topics related to our fields of interest.
The answer to the problem of fluctuating amounts of this important isotope is calibration.
While an uncalibrated reading may be off by a factor of 10%-20%, calibration severely reduces that value.
Archaeologists have the most accurate readings they are likely to ever receive!
Though the calibrated date is more precise, many scholars still use the uncalibrated date in order to keep chronologies consistent in academic communities.
Though it’s biggest, the calibration problem is not the only flaw of radiocarbon dating.
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.
As the lecture detailed, it is only accurate from about 62,000 years ago to 1,200 A. There is a sizable amount of time before and after that period that cannot be investigated using this method.