Benefits of radiocarbon dating
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Try it risk-free Ever wondered how scientists know the age of old bones in an ancient site or how old a scrap of linen is?
The technique used is called carbon dating, and in this lesson we will learn what this is and how it is used. Carbon dating, or radiocarbon dating, is a method used to date materials that once exchanged carbon dioxide with the atmosphere. In the late 1940s, an American physical chemist named Willard Libby first developed a method to measure radioactivity of carbon-14, a radioactive isotope.
By measuring the amount of carbon-14 left in the organism, it's possible to work out how old it is.Radiocarbon dating has been used extensively since its discovery.Examples of use include analyzing charcoal from prehistoric caves, ancient linen and wood, and mummified remains.It is often used on valuable artwork to confirm authenticity.
For example, look at this image of the opening of King Tutankhamen's tomb near Luxor, Egypt during the 1920s.This technique works well for materials up to around 50,000 years old.