Might carbon dating wrong

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Radiocarbon dating is especially good for determining the age of sites occupied within the last 26,000 years or so (but has the potential for sites over 50,000), can be used on carbon-based materials (organic or inorganic), and can be accurate to within ±30-50 years.Probably the most important factor to consider when using radiocarbon dating is if external factors, whether through artificial contamination, animal disturbance, or human negligence, contributed to any errors in the determinations.After another 5,730 years only half of those 50 (or 25 carbon-14 atoms would remain.) Think of the red ink molecules slowly disappearing at the same rate.One day, about 5,000 years ago, most of the water suddenly drained from the pool.Desmond Clark (1979:7) observed that without radiocarbon dating "we would still be foundering in a sea of imprecisions sometime bred of inspired guesswork but more often of imaginative speculation." And as Colin Renfrew (1973) aptly noted over 30 years ago, the "Radiocarbon Revolution" transformed how archaeologists could interpret the past and track cultural changes through a period in human history where we see among other things the massive migration of peoples settling virtually every major region of the world, the transition from hunting and gathering to more intensive forms of food production, and the rise of city-states.However, as with any dating technique there are limits to the kinds of things that can be satisfactorily dated, levels of precision and accuracy, age range constraints, and different levels of susceptibility to contamination.Since then, the amount of water only fills a bathtub, but one drop of red ink continued to fall into the bathtub each year.

They found that carbon-14 concentrations were twice their modern level during that period.This raises questions about the accuracy of carbon dating for very old objects.Beck and colleagues tested slices of a half-metre long stalagmite that grew between 45 000 and 11 000 years ago in a cave in the Bahamas.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).The question should be whether or not carbon-14 can be used to date any artifacts at all? There are a few categories of artifacts that can be dated using carbon-14; however, they cannot be more 50,000 years old.

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