Accurate carbon dating
The impact of the radiocarbon dating technique on modern man has made it one of the most significant discoveries of the 20th century.No other scientific method has managed to revolutionize man’s understanding not only of his present but also of events that already happened thousands of years ago.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.The precision of a radiocarbon date tells how narrow the range of dates is.There are two main factors which determine the precision of a radiocarbon date.
It is rapidly oxidized in air to form carbon dioxide and enters the global carbon cycle.
Measurements can be made with a high degree of precision. Aardsma submitted a sample from a reed mat known to be over 5,000 years old.
The measurement, before calibration, came back with an error bar of /- about 60 radiocarbon years. It should be noted that these measurement uncertainties do not increase linearly as one goes back in time.
A common misconception about radiocarbon dating is that it gives a precise date---3577 B. In actual practice radiocarbon dating can only give a range of dates for a given sample---3650 to 3410 B.
C., for example---the true date lying somewhere in that range.