>Dating with Carbon-14

>One of the most difficult tasks of archaeology is dating the material found in archaeological digs. One method archaeologists use comes from the physical sciences. This method of dating is based on Carbon-14.

Carbon-14 dating was developed by Willard Libby in 1948. Libby worked at the Institute of Nuclear Studies at the University of Chicago. Carbon-14 dating is based on the fact that living organisms absorb radioactive carbon from nature. After that organism dies, the Carbon-14 present in that organism disintegrates at a known rate.

By using this method, archaeologists can determine the date of the object by measuring the amount of Carbon-14 remaining in the sample.

The process of dating with Carbon-14 is complicated, but scientists have perfected the procedures for dating archaeological samples with Carbon-14.

To understand the process of dating archaeological material with Carbon-14 and the problems related to contamination of samples, watch this video on dating with Carbon-14.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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