Archaeological carbon dating


08-Oct-2019 07:54

Theoretically, if one could detect the amount of carbon-14 in an object, one could establish that object’s age using the half-life, or rate of decay, of the isotope.

However, the rates of movement of carbon throughout the cycle were not then known.

Radiocarbon dating would be most successful if two important factors were true: that the concentration of carbon-14 in the atmosphere had been constant for thousands of years, and that carbon-14 moved readily through the atmosphere, biosphere, oceans and other reservoirs—in a process known as the carbon cycle.

In the absence of any historical data concerning the intensity of cosmic radiation, Libby simply assumed that it had been constant.

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