Experts can compare the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in dead material to the ratio when the organism was alive to estimate the date of its death.Radiocarbon dating can be used on samples of bone, cloth, wood and plant fibers.At an archaeological dig, a piece of wooden tool is unearthed and the archaeologist finds it to be 5,000 years old.A child mummy is found high in the Andes and the archaeologist says the child lived more than 2,000 years ago.In this interactive, learn how radiocarbon dating works, what it takes to determine a date in the lab, and why it's challenging to pinpoint a date precisely.
Archaeologists use the exponential, radioactive decay of carbon 14 to estimate the death dates of organic material.
Probably the most important factor to consider when using radiocarbon dating is if external factors, whether through artificial contamination, animal disturbance, or human negligence, contributed to any errors in the determinations.
You probably have seen or read news stories about fascinating ancient artifacts.
Ninety-five percent of the activity of Oxalic Acid from the year 1950 is equal to the measured activity of the absolute radiocarbon standard which is 1890 wood.
This is the International Radiocarbon Dating Standard.