Radio carbon dating accuracey
Unfortunately, we aren't able to reliably date artifacts beyond several thousand years.
Scientists have tried to extend confidence in the carbon dating method further back in time by calibrating the method using tree ring dating.
Many scientists will use carbon dating test results to back up their position if the results agree with their preconceived theories.
But if the carbon dating results actually conflict with their ideas, they aren't too concerned. Thorpe, Nikos Kokkinos, Robert Morkot and John Frankish), Preface to Centuries of Darkness, 1991) So, is carbon dating accurate?
Compared to conventional radiocarbon techniques such as Libby's solid carbon counting, the gas counting method popular in the mid-1950s, or liquid scintillation (LS) counting, AMS permitted the dating of much smaller sized samples with even greater precision.
The surrounding environment can also influence radiocarbon ages.The introduction of "old" or "artificial" carbon into the atmosphere (i.e., the "Suess Effect" and "Atom Bomb Effect", respectively) can influence the ages of dates making them appear older or younger than they actually are.This is a major concern for bone dates where pretreatment procedures must be employed to isolate protein or a specific amino acid such as hydroxyproline (known to occur almost exclusively in bone collagen) to ensure accurate age assessments of bone specimens.Shells of known age collected prior to nuclear testing have also been dated ( to ascertain the effects of old carbon (i.e., local marine reservoir effects). However, the most common materials dated by archaeologists are wood charcoal, shell, and bone. In brief, radiocarbon dating measures the amount of radioactive carbon 14 (14C) in a sample.
Radiocarbon analyses are carried out at specialized laboratories around the world (see a list of labs at: When a biological organism dies, the radioactive carbon in its body begins to break down or decay. The Radiocarbon Revolution Since its development by Willard Libby in the 1940s, radiocarbon (14C) dating has become one of the most essential tools in archaeology.