Radiocarbon dating is appropriate for measuring the age

The half-life () is the name given to this value which Libby measured at 556830 years. After 10 half-lives, there is a very small amount of radioactive carbon present in a sample.

At about 50 - 60 000 years, then, the limit of the technique is reached (beyond this time, other radiometric techniques must be used for dating).

Writing of the European Upper Palaeolithic, Movius (1960) concluded that "time alone is the lens that can throw it into focus".

They exist in equilibrium with the C14 concentration of the atmosphere, that is, the numbers of C14 atoms and non-radioactive carbon atoms stays approximately the same over time.

As soon as a plant or animal dies, they cease the metabolic function of carbon uptake; there is no replenishment of radioactive carbon, only decay.

Nyerup's words illustrate poignantly the critical power and importance of dating; to order time.

Radiocarbon dating has been one of the most significant discoveries in 20th century science.

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