Radiocarbon dating limitations

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In fact, many important archaeological artifacts have been dated using this method including some of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Shroud of Turin.

Though radiocarbon dating is startlingly accurate for the most part, it has a few sizable flaws.

This magnificent technology is the most important innovation in archaeological history.

Archaeologists have the most accurate readings they are likely to ever receive!

If an archaeologist wanted to date a dead tree to see when humans used it to build tools, their readings would be significantly thrown off.

This is because radiocarbon dating gives the date when the tree ceased its intake of Carbon-14—not when it was being used for weapons and other instruments!

In the late 1940s, American chemist Willard Libby developed a method for determining when the death of an organism had occurred.

Despite its overuse and misrepresentation in the media, it is nonetheless extremely valuable.

This process has seriously assisted archaeologists in their research, excavations, and scholarly studies.

The answer to the problem of fluctuating amounts of this important isotope is calibration.

While an uncalibrated reading may be off by a factor of 10%-20%, calibration severely reduces that value.

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