Dating archaeological materials new dating cjm
Studying the material remains of past human life and activities may not seem important or exciting to the average Joe unlike the biological sciences.
But archaeology’s aim to understand mankind is a noble endeavor that goes beyond uncovering buried treasures, gathering information, and dating events.
Anthropologists can describe a people’s physical character, culture, and environmental and social relations.
Archaeologists, on the other hand, provide proof of authenticity of a certain artifact or debunk historical or anthropological findings.
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:
The process of radiocarbon dating starts with the analysis of the carbon 14 left in a sample.
Radiocarbon dating is especially good for determining the age of sites occupied within the last 26,000 years or so (but has the potential for sites over 50,000), can be used on carbon-based materials (organic or inorganic), and can be accurate to within ±30-50 years.
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.
Radiocarbon dating has been around for more than 50 years and has revolutionized archaeology.
Carbon 14 dating remains to be a powerful, dependable and widely applicable technique that is invaluable to archaeologists and other scientists.