Radioactive isotopes in dating the past

When it comes to dating archaeological samples, several timescale problems arise.For example, Christian time counts the birth of Christ as the beginning, AD 1 (Anno Domini); everything that occurred before Christ is counted backwards from AD as BC (Before Christ).

The extra neutrons in Carbon-14’s case make it radioactive (thus the term, radiocarbon).

Radiocarbon is produced in the upper atmosphere after Nitrogen-14 isotopes have been impacted by cosmic radiation.

Therefore, radiocarbon dates need to be calibrated with other dating techniques to ensure accuracy.

Plants are not the only organism that can process Carbon-14 from the air.

There are two techniques for dating in archaeological sites: relative and absolute dating.

Last modified 25-Oct-2019 17:34