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It is thanks to this method that we have been able to date the most significant transitions in prehistory like the end of the ice age and the Neolithic and Bronze age.
Human history research has been more accurate since the discovery of Carbon 14 method.
With this phenomenon, it is possible to calculate an organism's age, depending on its overall proportion of carbon 14. In plants, carbon 14 is incorporated through photosynthesis; in animals or humans, it is acquired when eating plants.
When the animal, human or plant dies, there is no more absorption of Carbon 14, and the amount it already contains begins to decrease as it undergoes radioactive decay.
There is a very constant ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 within all living things and in the air.
It is a fact that carbon-12 and carbon-13 are stable, and that Carbon-14 decays slowly due to beta decay caused by nitrogen-14 with a half-life of approximately 5,730 years.
Any addition of carbon to a sample would change the results of the measured date dramatically.
Archaeologists must use specific tools and follow a meticulous sampling methodology to keep their samples pure.
However, there was no scientific method to be certain.
Next time you visit an archaeological site or go to a Natural History museum, keep in mind that most of the dates previewed on the exhibits were calculated using Carbon 14 method.
You might even use this information to start an interesting conversation with your companions.
Almost everyone has heard on the news about archaeological findings claiming to have discovered a 12,000 years old bone, or a tomb with a skeleton of an individual who died 18,000 years ago.
Do you remember when they found the famous tomb of Tutankhamun in Egypt?
We have certainly been to a Natural History museum and saw exhibits of dinosaur or mammoth skeletons weather they are real or replicas.