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    Carbon 14 in archaeological dating

    The technique hinges on carbon-14, a radioactive isotope of the element that, unlike other more stable forms of carbon, decays away at a steady rate.Organisms capture a certain amount of carbon-14 from the atmosphere when they are alive.Various geologic, atmospheric and solar processes can influence atmospheric carbon-14 levels.Since the 1960s, scientists have started accounting for the variations by calibrating the clock against the known ages of tree rings.Outside the range of recorded history, calibration of the 14 clock is not possible.

    But even he “realized that there probably would be variation”, says Christopher Bronk Ramsey, a geochronologist at the University of Oxford, UK, who led the latest work, published today in Science.Carbon-14 is radioactive, with a half-life of about 5,700 years.For more information on cosmic rays and half-life, as well as the process of radioactive decay, see How Nuclear Radiation Works.I understand calibration might have something to do with this, but then in the article it says in italicized words that the uncalibrated date “Must Always Be Mentioned”. CMI’s Dr Rob Carter responds: Anthony, As a fan of biblical archaeology, I was asked to address your question.But when I read articles about the results, they never mention the uncalibrated data, which could actually be correct. I am not an expert in every subject that impinges on the discussion, but I will do my best.

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