Start Archaeological dating radioisotopes

Archaeological dating radioisotopes

Techniques include tree rings in timbers, radiocarbon dating of wood or bones, and trapped-charge dating methods such as thermoluminescence dating of glazed ceramics.

Carbon-14 moves up the food chain as animals eat plants and as predators eat other animals. It takes 5,730 years for half the carbon-14 to change to nitrogen; this is the half-life of carbon-14.

After another 5,730 years only one-quarter of the original carbon-14 will remain.

Argon, a noble gas, is not commonly incorporated into such samples except when produced in situ through radioactive decay.

One of the most widely used and well-known absolute dating techniques is carbon-14 (or radiocarbon) dating, which is used to date organic remains.

Thus dating that particular tree does not necessarily indicate when the fire burned or the structure was built.

For this reason, many archaeologists prefer to use samples from short-lived plants for radiocarbon dating.

The relatively short half-life of carbon-14, 5,730 years, makes dating reliable only up to about 50,000 years.