The method was developed by Willard Libby in the late 1940s and soon became a standard tool for archaeologists.Libby received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in 1960.However its application has caused extreme confusion and misunderstanding of the archaeological record.Knowing the limitations of this dating method can help avoid colossal archaeological misinterpretations that would otherwise distort history.The analyst must be thoroughly trained in stone tool production techniques to be able to draw valid conclusions about the lithic artefact.Much information can be gathered from the study of lithic materials.Carbon-14 dating is a way of determining the age of certain archeological artifacts of a biological origin up to about 50,000 years old.
At an archaeological dig, a piece of wooden tool is unearthed and the archaeologist finds it to be 5,000 years old.
The stable C12 and C13, and the unstable or radioactive Carbon 14. Only one C14 atom exists for every one trillion C12 atoms.
Nitrogen atoms in the upper atmosphere are struck by cosmic radiation and create C14 atoms.
A child mummy is found high in the Andes and the archaeologist says the child lived more than 2,000 years ago.
How do scientists know how old an object or human remains are?