The process of radiocarbon dating starts with the analysis of the carbon 14 left in a sample.
The proportion of carbon 14 in the sample examined provides an indication of the time elapsed since death of the sample’s source.
For example, about 1.5 percent of a quantity of Uranium 238 will decay to lead every 100 million years.
By measuring the ratio of lead to uranium in a rock sample, its age can be determined.
Scientists discovered that rocks could be timepieces -- literally.
Many chemical elements in rock exist in a number of slightly different forms, known as isotopes.
But archaeology’s aim to understand mankind is a noble endeavor that goes beyond uncovering buried treasures, gathering information, and dating events.
It is in knowing what made past cultures cease to exist that could provide the key in making sure that history does not repeat itself.
Archaeology has undoubtedly enriched mankind’s history like no other science.Carbon 14 dating remains to be a powerful, dependable, and widely applicable technique that is invaluable to archaeologists and other scientists.The unstable and radioactive carbon 14, called radiocarbon, is a naturally occurring isotope of the element carbon.Using this technique, called radiometric dating, scientists are able to "see" back in time.History, anthropology, and archaeology are three distinct but closely related bodies of knowledge that tell man of his present by virtue of his past.When a living thing dies, it stops interacting with the biosphere, and the carbon 14 in it remains unaffected by the biosphere but will naturally undergo decay.