Rosanna is one of Dig Ventures' intrepid Community Archaeologists.
Carbon dating test
By knowing the half-life of C-14 and estimating how many C-14 atoms the organism contained before it died, we can calculate the age of an object or creature at time of death.
Radio-carbon dating can only be effectively used on materials which once formed part of a living organism, which means that materials such as stone and metal can’t usually be directly dated in this way.
Also, many fossils are contaminated with carbon from the environment during collection or preservation procedures.
Scientists attempt to check the accuracy of carbon dating by comparing carbon dating data to data from other dating methods.
Carbon-14 dating has been used successfully on the Dead Sea Scrolls, Minoan ruins and tombs of the pharaohs among other things. The half-life of carbon-14 is approximately 5,730 years. dinosaurs the evolution alleges lived millions of years ago.
Levels of carbon-14 become difficult to measure and compare after about 50,000 years (between 8 and 9 half lives; where 1% of the original carbon-14 would remain undecayed).
Like our own Digital Dig Team (which enables archaeologists to upload discoveries in 3D straight from the trenches), this new technique could transform the way field archaeologists work.
The time involved and expense of taking samples would be dramatically reduced, meaning that more samples can be taken, and theoretically, more can be learned from each site.
Current techniques used for carbon dating, such as Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, can be expensive processes and require samples to be sent away for analysis, typically taking 6 weeks or more for information to be relayed back.