Dating and radiocarbon dating

It can be applied to most organic materials and spans dates from a few hundred years ago right back to about 50,000 years ago - about when modern humans were first entering Europe.

Research continues to refine the calibration of radiocarbon dates to calendar dates, expand the range of organic materials that can be dated, and extend the period for which materials can be dated. Doug Macdougall, Nature’s Clocks: How Scientists Measure the Age of Almost Everything (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008).Dating charcoal that originated from such dead wood would result in a date that could be centuries older than the actual burning of the wood in a hearth.Dating seeds and annual plants using AMS dating is a common method of avoiding the problems in dating wood charcoal.Radiocarbon dating has made a substantive contribution to our understanding of Colorado prehistory by allowing archaeologists to place excavated sites in chronological order and allowing comparison of contemporary archaeological cultures.While Willard Libby received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1960 for his contributions to the development of the radiocarbon dating method, the process that led to the discovery of this method began much earlier.