For nearly 70 years, archaeologists have been measuring carbon-14 levels to date sites and artifacts. Nothing good can last—and in the case of carbon-14, a radioactive isotope found in Earths atmosphere, thats great news for archaeologists. Over time, carbon-14 decays in predictable ways.
What do carbon dating tell archaeologists?
Radiocarbon dating (also referred to as carbon dating or carbon-14 dating) is a method for determining the age of an object containing organic material by using the properties of radiocarbon, a radioactive isotope of carbon. Histories of archaeology often refer to its impact as the radiocarbon revolution.
Do anthropologists use carbon dating?
Archaeologists have long used carbon-14 dating (also known as radiocarbon dating) to estimate the age of certain objects. Traditional radiocarbon dating is applied to organic remains between 500 and 50,000 years old and exploits the fact that trace amounts of radioactive carbon are found in the natural environment.