Archeology and carbon dating
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This question is sharpened in light of the fact that the uncertainty in the usual radiocarbon readings (plus or minus 25 years or so) may be as large as the difference in dates in the debate. Measuring the remaining carbon-14 content in “long-term” organic samples, such as wood, will provide the date of growth of the tree, rather than the date of the archaeological stratum in which the sample was found.
Carbon dating determines the age of archaeological objects, or how long ago a creature died, by measuring the amount of Carbon -14 remaining inside.
The method is based on the theory that every living organism contains a small but constant proportion of this radioactive carbon isotope.
Rosanna is one of Dig Ventures' intrepid Community Archaeologists.
She's busy turning Barrowed Time (our dig at Morecambe's Bronze Age burial mound) into a real seaside adventure, and getting the Pop-Up Museum on the Prom ready for you to visit!
When the organism dies the C-14 is no longer replaced and that which remains decays at a constant rate.