Archaeological dating perspective radiocarbon
The science of archaeology has undeniably enriched mankind’s history and has helped to quench the quest to understand our past cultures in a better way.Understanding the age and period of existence of the excavated fossils and other organic objects will help the archaeologist to unravel human history and evolution in a scrupulous manner (Taylor 24).According to Higham (1999) C14 method can be described as ‘the radio carbon revolution’ which has significantly impacted our understanding about evolution and also cultural emergence of human species.Taylor (1987) suggests C-14 technique as one of the most significant discoveries of 20thcentury that touches the realms of many disciplines including archaeology.Thus by comparing the relative quantity of carbon -12 and carbon -14 in an organic matter excavated scientists can predict the age of the object (R. Where N is the current amount, N_o is the original amount, lambda is the proportionality constant for the growth rate (which is negative for decay), and t is the amount of time that has passed. Source: (Brain, 2014) The half-life of carbon-14 is 5730 years. This implies that it takes 5730 years for half of the 14C atoms in the organic matter to get decayed. Radiocarbon dating enable archaeologists to provide proof of authenticity to the excavated artifacts’ period of usage and thus by collaborating with the efforts with historians and anthropologists, the unwritten history can be precisely explained.Significance Desmond Clark (1979) opinions that if radio carbon dating technique were not discovered, (Clark, 1979:7).
Otherwise archaeologists had to resort t to the method of relative dating where by comparing with stratigraphically close objects [objects which are buried at the same depth will be approximately of the same era.] clue regarding the time period and historical styles were assumed or rather guesstimated.The carbon dating technique takes the assumption that all livings have fairly same percentage of 14C isotope in their body and also that the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon -14 present in the biosphere and inside the living plants and animals remain constant. After the death of the organism the carbon intake is stopped. When an organism is dead the intake of the carbon-14 stops and in a 5730 year time period, half of the amount of carbon-14 present in the organic matter would have undergone beta decay to form stable Nitrogen-14. The burning of a small piece of the excavated organic matter and measuring the electrons emitted during the process by the decaying carbon-14 by radiation counters enable to quantify the amount of carbon -14 present in the material. “Why Is Radiocarbon Dating Important to Archaeology.” California State Parks.