Carbon 14 dating used archaeology

The other two isotopes in comparison are more common than carbon-14 in the atmosphere but increase with the burning of fossil fuels making them less reliable for study (2); carbon-14 also increases, but its relative rarity means its increase is negligible. After this point, other Absolute Dating methods may be used.

Today, the radiocarbon-14 dating method is used extensively in environmental sciences and in human sciences such as archaeology and anthropology.

The other method is “Relative Dating” which gives an order of events without giving an exact age (1): typically artefact typology or the study of the sequence of the evolution of fossils.

This does not mean that we have a precise year of 3780BC, it means we then need to calibrate through other methods that will show us how atmospheric concentrations of the C isotope has changed - most typically through the dendrochronology records (tree ring data) (10).

Very old trees such as North American Bristlecone Pine are ideal for constructing long and accurate records of the state of the atmosphere.

The sample passes through several accelerators in order to remove as many atoms as possible until the C pass into the detector.

These latter atoms are used as part of the calibration process to measure the relative number of isotopes (9).

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