Origin of carbon 14 dating greatdating com
We will deal with carbon dating first and then with the other dating methods.Carbon has unique properties that are essential for life on Earth.Oakley (1979) suggested its development meant an almost complete re-writing of the evolution and cultural emergence of the human species.Desmond Clark (1979) wrote that were it not for radiocarbon dating, "we would still be foundering in a sea of imprecisions sometime bred of inspired guesswork but more often of imaginative speculation" (Clark, 1979:7).Because atmospheric carbon 14 arises at about the same rate that the atom decays, Earth's levels of carbon 14 have remained fairly constant.Once an organism is dead, however, no new carbon is actively absorbed by its tissues, and its carbon 14 gradually decays.Libby thus reasoned that by measuring carbon 14 levels in the remains of an organism that died long ago, one could estimate the time of its death.
Most carbon consists of the isotopes carbon 12 and carbon 13, which are very stable.Radiocarbon dating has been one of the most significant discoveries in 20th century science.Renfrew (1973) called it 'the radiocarbon revolution' in describing its impact upon the human sciences.Writing of the European Upper Palaeolithic, Movius (1960) concluded that "time alone is the lens that can throw it into focus".
The radiocarbon method was developed by a team of scientists led by the late Professor Willard F.
We know that it is older than Christendom, but whether by a couple of years or a couple of centuries, or even by more than a millenium, we can do no more than guess." [Rasmus Nyerup, (Danish antiquarian), 1802 (in Trigger, 19)].