How old can radiocarbon dating lgbt youth dating violence
However, there are a number of other factors that can affect the amount of carbon present in a sample and how that information is interpreted by archaeologists.
Thus a great deal of care is taken in securing and processing samples and multiple samples are often required if we want to be confident about assigning a date to a site, feature, or artifact (read more about the radiocarbon dating technique at:
What you need is a ruler, a reliable map to the reservoir: in other words, an organic set of objects that you can securely pin a date on, measure its C14 content and thus establish the baseline reservoir in a given year.
Fortunately, we do have an organic object that tracks carbon in the atmosphere on a yearly basis: tree rings.
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.
Trees maintain carbon 14 equilibrium in their growth rings—and trees produce a ring for every year they are alive.
Although we don't have any 50,000-year-old trees, we do have overlapping tree ring sets back to 12,594 years.
Compared to conventional radiocarbon techniques such as Libby's solid carbon counting, the gas counting method popular in the mid-1950s, or liquid scintillation (LS) counting, AMS permitted the dating of much smaller sized samples with even greater precision.
Regardless of the particular 14C technique used, the value of this tool for archaeology has clearly been appreciated.