“Radiocarbon Dating: An Introduction,” Beta Analytic, n.d.Scratching around in a cave in the middle of nowhere, you find a bone.Therefore, radiocarbon dates are calculated to a “pre-bomb” age of 1950.Other factors complicating the accuracy of radiocarbon dating include the burning of fossil fuels, volcanic eruptions, and fluctuations in the earth’s magnetic field, all of which alter the concentration of C in the atmosphere is not consistent, scientists have addressed fluctuations in the global reservoir through time by using calibration curves calculated by dating materials of precisely known age.Thus, as living things take in carbon, they inevitably will take up a small amount of radioactive carbon into their bodies.
The type of sample can also impact the results of the date.
Radiocarbon Dating One method that scientists use to date ancient fossils and artifacts is called radiocarbon dating.
All living things on Earth are made up of a high percentage of an element called carbon.
Archaeologists are interested in the absolute age that a specific event took place, thus the dating method should be as accurate and precise as possible.
Dating a sample of wood charcoal from an archaeological feature such as a hearth might include pieces of wood of different ages.
A radiocarbon date would then be an average of the range of ages of the different pieces of wood charcoal.