Calculate age using radiocarbon dating
The net effect of this is that all living organisms have the same radiocarbon to stable carbon ratio as the atmosphere.Once an organism dies the carbon is no longer replaced.By measuring the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 in the sample and comparing it to the ratio in a living organism, it is possible to determine the age of the artifact.Radiocarbon dating is one of the most widely used scientific dating methods in archaeology and environmental science.However, at the moment of death, the amount of carbon-14 begins to decrease because it is unstable, while the amount of carbon-12 remains constant in the sample.Half of the carbon-14 degrades every 5,730 years as indicated by its half-life.Because the radiocarbon is radioactive, it will slowly decay away.
As explained below, the radiocarbon date tells us when the organism was alive (not when the material was used).
Libby and coworkers, and it has provided a way to determine the ages of different materials in archeology, geology, geophysics, and other branches of science.
Some examples of the types of material that radiocarbon can determine the ages of are wood, charcoal, marine and freshwater shell, bone and antler, and peat and organic-bearing sediments.
This fact should always be remembered when using radiocarbon dates.
The dating process is always designed to try to extract the carbon from a sample which is most representative of the original organism.