Carbon dating procedure

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The unstable and radioactive carbon 14, called radiocarbon, is a naturally occurring isotope of the element carbon.When a living thing dies, it stops interacting with the biosphere, and the carbon 14 in it remains unaffected by the biosphere but will naturally undergo decay.The proportion of carbon 14 in the sample examined provides an indication of the time elapsed since death of the sample’s source.Radiocarbon dating results are reported in uncalibrated years BP (Before Present), where BP is defined as AD 1950.Decay of carbon 14 takes thousands of years, and it is this wonder of nature that forms the basis of radiocarbon dating and made this carbon 14 analysis a powerful tool in revealing the past.The process of radiocarbon dating starts with the analysis of the carbon 14 left in a sample.Radiocarbon dating has been around for more than 50 years and has revolutionized archaeology.

Over the years, archaeology has uncovered information about past cultures that would have been left unknown had it not been with the help of such technologies as radiocarbon dating, dendrochronology, archaeomagnetic dating, fluoride dating, luminescence dating, and obsidian hydration analysis, among others.History, anthropology, and archaeology are three distinct but closely related bodies of knowledge that tell man of his present by virtue of his past.Historians can tell what cultures thrived in different regions and when they disintegrated.Other potential contaminants include paper, cardboard, cotton wool, string, and cigarette ash.Samples must be stored in packaging materials that will protect them during transport and even during prolonged storage.

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