Measurements of radiocarbon concentration are usually expressed in terms of a notional age, in numbers of years before 1950. For example, the radiocarbon result 1000±25BP indicates that the notional age is 1000 years with a standard uncertainty of 25 years.
What does a radiocarbon date tell us?
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 is radiocarbon dating in simple terms?
The basis of radiocarbon dating is simple: all living things absorb carbon from the atmosphere and food sources around them, including a certain amount of natural, radioactive carbon-14. When the plant or animal dies, they stop absorbing, but the radioactive carbon that theyve accumulated continues to decay.