The calibrated date is also presented, either in BC or AD or with the unit cal BP (calibrated before present - before 1950).
The calibrated date is our “best estimate” of the sample’s actual age, but we need to be able to return to old dates and recalibrate them because new research is continually used to update the calibration curve.
This method requires less than 1g of bone, but few countries can afford more than one or two AMSs, which cost more than A0,000.
Australia has two machines dedicated to radiocarbon analysis, and they are out of reach for much of the developing world.
Radiocarbon dates are presented in two ways because of this complication.
This is particularly important for very old samples.
Radioactive decay can be used as a “clock” because it is unaffected by physical (e.g. For instance, the amount varies according to how many cosmic rays reach Earth.
This is affected by solar activity and the earth’s magnetic field.
Moving away from techniques, the most exciting thing about radiocarbon is what it reveals about our past and the world we live in.
Radiocarbon dating was the first method that allowed archaeologists to place what they found in chronological order without the need for written records or coins.
These new techniques can have a dramatic effect on chronologies.