Start Carbon 14 dating archaeology

Carbon 14 dating archaeology

Radiocarbon, or Carbon-14, dating is probably one of the most widely used and best known absolute dating methods. Radiocarbon dating relies on a simple natural phenomenon.

A very small percentage of carbon, however, consists of the isotope carbon 14, or radiocarbon, which is unstable.

Carbon 14 has a half-life of 5,780 years, and is continuously created in Earth's atmosphere through the interaction of nitrogen and gamma rays from outer space.

He found an irregular slab from a bristlecone pine that spanned the years 3050 BCE to 2700 BCE.

The tree ring sequence adjacent to the slab's bark matched the sequence near Methuselah's core. He found a piece that contained 600 rings; another contained 150 rings.

Since the time of Libby, the developer of the C-14 analysis, calibration checks have been made using U. Counting tree rings showed that it had germinated in 2726 BCE.

This pushed the calibration back beyond recorded history almost to 10,000 BP (years before the present.) One valuable source of samples of various ages came from a bristlecone pine tree called "Methuselah" in the White-Inyo mountain range of California.

Samples from the tree were able to generate calibration points back to that date. It is narrow or broad, depending upon whether the weather during that year was dry or wet, and whether the tree was exposed to various stressors.