How do archaeologists use radiocarbon dating

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Keywords: radio carbon dating, radiocarbon dating The science of archaeology has undeniably enriched mankind’s history and has helped to quench the quest to understand our past cultures in a better way.

Otherwise archaeologists had to resort t to the method of relative dating where by comparing with stratigraphically close objects [objects which are buried at the same depth will be approximately of the same era.] clue regarding the time period and historical styles were assumed or rather guesstimated. gsu.edu/hbase/nuclear/cardat.html>15 April 2009.

But the advent of carbon-14 dating tools has opened up the new scope of absolute dating where scientists could predict the age of excavated artifacts and objects with great precision up to 50,000 years old.

Significance Desmond Clark (1979) opinions that if radio carbon dating technique were not discovered, (Clark, 1979:7). Exploratory analysis of the international radiocarbon cross- calibration data: consensus values and interlaboratory error.

This data will help the scientists to relationship of Nitrogen-14 and Carbon-14 atom and can be used to predict the age of the artifact directly.

For example, if a tree was found to be used in an excavated piece of architecture, by determining the age of the tree or the period when the tree was cut down for construction, the era to which the excavated architecture exactly belongs can be estimated (Michels, J W). Based on this constant of the radioisotope of carbon, 14-C or carbon -14 the age of the organic material is assessed.

The Method of Carbon-14 Technique Archaeologists rely on the various radiometric dating techniques- based on the radioactive properties of unstable chemical atoms to determine the age of the materials. In the biosphere carbon-14 is created by the collision of a neutron, exited by the cosmic ray collides with a nitrogen atom.

Carbon-14 isotope will undergo decay at an exponential rate to form the stable nitrogen-14. The following equation is used to determine the carbon-14 decay.

Thus by comparing the relative quantity of carbon -12 and carbon -14 in an organic matter excavated scientists can predict the age of the object (R. Where N is the current amount, N_o is the original amount, lambda is the proportionality constant for the growth rate (which is negative for decay), and t is the amount of time that has passed. Source: (Brain, 2014) The half-life of carbon-14 is 5730 years.

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