Alternatives to radiocarbon dating
Radiocarbon, or carbon 14, is an isotope of the element carbon that is unstable and weakly radioactive. Carbon 14 is continually being formed in the upper atmosphere by the effect of cosmic ray neutrons on nitrogen 14 atoms.It is rapidly oxidized in air to form carbon dioxide and enters the global carbon cycle.Radiocarbon dating is essentially a method designed to measure residual radioactivity.By knowing how much carbon 14 is left in a sample, the age of the organism when it died can be known.Since its introduction it has been used to date many well-known items, including samples of the Dead Sea Scrolls, enough Egyptian artifacts to supply a chronology of Dynastic Egypt, and Otzi the iceman.
The level is affected by variations in the cosmic ray intensity, which is, in turn, affected by variations in the Earth’s magnetosphere.
In this method, the sample is in liquid form and a scintillator is added.
This scintillator produces a flash of light when it interacts with a beta particle.
He demonstrated the accuracy of radiocarbon dating by accurately estimating the age of wood from a series of samples for which the age was known, including an ancient Egyptian royal barge of 1850 BCE.
The dating method is based on the fact that carbon is found in various forms, including the main stable isotope (carbon 12) and an unstable isotope (carbon 14).
Finally, although radiocarbon dating is the most common and widely used chronometric technique in archaeology today, it is not unfailing. Whenever possible multiple samples should be collected and dated from associated sections.