Carbon 14 dating archaeology


04-Nov-2015 07:24

Nyerup's words illustrate poignantly the critical power and importance of dating; to order time.

Radiocarbon dating has been one of the most significant discoveries in 20th century science.

The C14 technique has been and continues to be applied and used in many, many different fields including hydrology, atmospheric science, oceanography, geology, palaeoclimatology, archaeology and biomedicine.

There are three principal isotopes of carbon which occur naturally - C12, C13 (both stable) and C14 (unstable or radioactive).

Renfrew (1973) called it 'the radiocarbon revolution' in describing its impact upon the human sciences.

Oakley (1979) suggested its development meant an almost complete re-writing of the evolution and cultural emergence of the human species.

Desmond Clark (1979) wrote that were it not for radiocarbon dating, "we would still be foundering in a sea of imprecisions sometime bred of inspired guesswork but more often of imaginative speculation" (Clark, 1979:7).

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Libby later received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1960: (From Taylor, 1987).

Today, there are over 130 radiocarbon dating laboratories around the world producing radiocarbon assays for the scientific community.