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In 2008 we could only calibrate radiocarbon dates until 26,000 years.Now the curve extends (tentatively) to 50,000 years.Moving away from techniques, the most exciting thing about radiocarbon is what it reveals about our past and the world we live in.Radiocarbon dating was the first method that allowed archaeologists to place what they found in chronological order without the need for written records or coins.In the 19th and early 20th century incredibly patient and careful archaeologists would link pottery and stone tools in different geographical areas by similarities in shape and patterning.
This is affected by solar activity and the earth’s magnetic field.
The calibrated date is also presented, either in BC or AD or with the unit cal BP (calibrated before present - before 1950).
The calibrated date is our “best estimate” of the sample’s actual age, but we need to be able to return to old dates and recalibrate them because new research is continually used to update the calibration curve.
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View the full list Radiocarbon dating has transformed our understanding of the past 50,000 years.
This method requires less than 1g of bone, but few countries can afford more than one or two AMSs, which cost more than A0,000.