Maximum age limit radiocarbon dating fossils

19-Jun-2015 10:24

Compared to conventional radiocarbon techniques such as Libby's solid carbon counting, the gas counting method popular in the mid-1950s, or liquid scintillation (LS) counting, AMS permitted the dating of much smaller sized samples with even greater precision.

Regardless of the particular 14C technique used, the value of this tool for archaeology has clearly been appreciated.

The application of Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) for radiocarbon dating in the late 1970s was also a major achievement.Radiocarbon dating is especially good for determining the age of sites occupied within the last 26,000 years or so (but has the potential for sites over 50,000), can be used on carbon-based materials (organic or inorganic), and can be accurate to within ±30-50 years.Probably the most important factor to consider when using radiocarbon dating is if external factors, whether through artificial contamination, animal disturbance, or human negligence, contributed to any errors in the determinations.This isn't a fundamental limit as more accurate measurements could go further back, but at some point you'd simply run out of C-14 atoms.With our current kit 40-50K years is about the limit.

The application of Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) for radiocarbon dating in the late 1970s was also a major achievement.

Radiocarbon dating is especially good for determining the age of sites occupied within the last 26,000 years or so (but has the potential for sites over 50,000), can be used on carbon-based materials (organic or inorganic), and can be accurate to within ±30-50 years.

Probably the most important factor to consider when using radiocarbon dating is if external factors, whether through artificial contamination, animal disturbance, or human negligence, contributed to any errors in the determinations.

This isn't a fundamental limit as more accurate measurements could go further back, but at some point you'd simply run out of C-14 atoms.

With our current kit 40-50K years is about the limit.

This process of decay occurs at a regular rate and can be measured.