Question: How far back can we date something?

C (the period of time after which half of a given sample will have decayed) is about 5,730 years, the oldest dates that can be reliably measured by this process date to approximately 50,000 years ago, although special preparation methods occasionally make accurate analysis of older samples possible.

How far back can you carbon date something?

As a rule, carbon dates are younger than calendar dates: a bone carbon-dated to 10,000 years is around 11,000 years old, and 20,000 carbon years roughly equates to 24,000 calendar years. The problem, says Bronk Ramsey, is that tree rings provide a direct record that only goes as far back as about 14,000 years.

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