Archaeologists have long used carbon-14 dating (also known as radiocarbon dating) to estimate the age of certain objects. Traditional radiocarbon dating is applied to organic remains between 500 and 50,000 years old and exploits the fact that trace amounts of radioactive carbon are found in the natural environment.
What is carbon dating anthropology?
Radiocarbon dating (also referred to as carbon dating or carbon-14 dating) is a method for determining the age of an object containing organic material by using the properties of radiocarbon, a radioactive isotope of carbon. Histories of archaeology often refer to its impact as the radiocarbon revolution.
What type of Scientists use carbon dating?
Archaeology and other human sciences use radiocarbon dating to prove or disprove theories. Over the years, carbon 14 dating has also found applications in geology, hydrology, geophysics, atmospheric science, oceanography, paleoclimatology and even biomedicine.
What can carbon dating tell archaeologists?
Over time, carbon-14 decays in predictable ways. And with the help of radiocarbon dating, researchers can use that decay as a kind of clock that allows them to peer into the past and determine absolute dates for everything from wood to food, pollen, poop, and even dead animals and humans.
Is carbon 14 a radioactive isotope?
It is nearly 80 years since the discovery of carbon-14, a radioactive isotope of the sixth element. Living organisms constantly take up 14C, and after they die, the isotope decays at a known rate. By measuring the amount left in a carbon-based sample, it is possible to calculate its age.