In fact, it has fluctuated a great deal over the years.
This variation is caused by both natural processes and human activity.
Standard calibration curves are now used for more accurate readings.
Since trees can have a lifespan of hundreds of years, its date of death might not even be relatively close to the date the archaeologists are looking for.
Thorough research and cautiousness can eliminate accidental contamination and avoidable mistakes.
The technology uses a series of mathematical calculations—the most recognizable of which is known as half-life—to estimate the age the organism stopped ingesting the isotope.
Unfortunately, the amount of Carbon-14 in the atmosphere has not been steady throughout history.
The isotope decreased by a small fraction due to the combustion of fossil fuels, among other factors.
However, the quantity of Carbon-14 was nearly doubled in the ’50s and ’60s because of the atomic bomb testings in those decades.
In last Tuesday’s lecture, radiocarbon dating was covered briefly.
It is an essential technology that is heavily involved in archaeology and should be explored in greater depth.
Radiocarbon dating uses the naturally occurring isotope Carbon-14 to approximate the age of organic materials. Often, archaeologists use graves and plant remains to date sites.
Since its conception by Willard Libby in 1949, it has been invaluable to the discipline.
If an archaeologist wanted to date a dead tree to see when humans used it to build tools, their readings would be significantly thrown off.