Radiocarbon dating before 1950
In fact, levels of Carbon-14 have varied in the atmosphere through time.One good example would be the elevated levels of Carbon-14 in our atmosphere since WWII as a result of atomic bombs testing.As long as there is organic material present, radiocarbon dating is a universal dating technique that can be applied anywhere in the world.It is good for dating for the last 50,000 years to about 400 years ago and can create chronologies for areas that previously lacked calendars.Looking at the graph, 100% of radiocarbon in a sample will be reduced to 50% after 5730 years.In 11,460 years, half of the 50% will remain, or 25%, and so on.
Although relative dating can work well in certain areas, several problems arise.The Mayan calendar used 3114 BC as their reference.More recently is the radiocarbon date of 1950 AD or before present, BP.In 1949, American chemist Willard Libby, who worked on the development of the atomic bomb, published the first set of radiocarbon dates.His radiocarbon dating technique is the most important development in absolute dating in archaeology and remains the main tool for dating the past 50,000 years.
After an organism dies, the radiocarbon decreases through a regular pattern of decay. The time taken for half of the atoms of a radioactive isotope to decay in Carbon-14’s case is about 5730 years.