Though archaeologists can come up with good guesses about the date of artifacts through different processes, most methods of dating are trumped by a relatively new technique called radiocarbon dating. Developed in , it is considered the most useful way of determining the dates of artifacts for archaeologists. Since 14 C is radioactive, it decays at a relatively quick exponential rate Figure 1 , while non-radioactive carbon 12 C does not. While Libby noted that radiocarbon dating remains effective because the amount of 14 C produced in the atmosphere does not vary with time, this may not always be the case. Fossil fuel emissions have undoubtedly raised the amount of 12 C in the atmosphere, with there being an upward trend in in the metric tons of Carbon in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution Figure 2.
Mezhirich - Upper Paleolithic Mammoth Bone Settlement in Ukraine
W.M. Keck Carbon Cycle Accelerator Mass Spectrometer
The Center for Applied Isotope Studies offers consultation and full radiocarbon dating services for research and commercial clients. We use the latest techniques and technologies. Our state-of-the-art Pretreatment and Graphitization Facility allows us to offer many specialty services, including micro-sampling and compound-specific dating. We are experts in dating extremely small and poorly preserved samples.
There are two techniques in measuring radiocarbon in samples—through radiometric dating and by Accelerator Mass Spectrometry AMS. The two techniques are used primarily in determining carbon 14 content of archaeological artifacts and geological samples. These two radiocarbon dating methods use modern standards such as oxalic acid and other reference materials.