Does radiocarbon dating work

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The older the material, the less C-14 it will contain, as the C-14 will have decayed over time at a fairly regular rate. C-12 to C-14 ratios are somewhat variable in normal samples.

Plants take up Carbon as both isotopes, and incorporate that Carbon into their cells.

The most stable artificial radioisotope is 11C, which has a half-life of 20.334 minutes.

All other radioisotopes have half-lives under 20 seconds, most less than 200 milliseconds.

Carbon dating is an excellent tool, along with many others, to determine age and chronology.

It is limited by constraints mentioned, and by itself gives only a fuzzy approximation.

Also note, you cannot Carbon date glass, metal, or pottery. You could perhaps find a bit of leftover plant material from the crock, wine residue from the bottle, or blood on the knife.

You might have noticed that Carbon dates are almost always stated with a ( - years), or simply stated as “between” date-to-date.

That is the “reliability” of the process, and the source of many disagreements between Archeologists.

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