Can carbon dating

08 Feb

The calibrated date is our “best estimate” of the sample’s actual age, but we need to be able to return to old dates and recalibrate them because new research is continually used to update the calibration curve.

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Luckily, we can measure these fluctuations in samples that are dated by other methods.This is particularly important for very old samples.If 1% of the carbon in a 50,000 year old sample is from a modern contaminant, the sample will be dated to around 40,000 years.Because of this, radiocarbon chemists are continually developing new methods to more effectively clean materials.These new techniques can have a dramatic effect on chronologies.