How does carbon dating work

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Radiocarbon, or carbon 14, is an isotope of the element carbon that is unstable and weakly radioactive. Carbon 14 is continually being formed in the upper atmosphere by the effect of cosmic ray neutrons on nitrogen 14 atoms.

It is rapidly oxidized in air to form carbon dioxide and enters the global carbon cycle.

The impact of the radiocarbon dating technique on modern man has made it one of the most significant discoveries of the 20th century.

No other scientific method has managed to revolutionize man’s understanding not only of his present but also of events that already happened thousands of years ago.

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There is a greater part of man’s unwritten past that archaeology has managed to unravel.Anthropologists can describe a people’s physical character, culture, and environmental and social relations.Archaeologists, on the other hand, provide proof of authenticity of a certain artifact or debunk historical or anthropological findings.It is in knowing what made past cultures cease to exist that could provide the key in making sure that history does not repeat itself.Over the years, archaeology has uncovered information about past cultures that would have been left unknown had it not been with the help of such technologies as radiocarbon dating, dendrochronology, archaeomagnetic dating, fluoride dating, luminescence dating, and obsidian hydration analysis, among others.

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