New carbon dating method
According to researchers at Queen's University of Belfast, the new curve doubles the accuracy of dating as well as the age of artifacts on which it can be used, from 25,000 to 50,000 years.The Shroud of Turin, the controversial piece of linen that some believe to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, could finally be dated accurately.Precisely dating archaeological artifacts is not as easy or harmless as it might seem.The most common method, radiocarbon dating, requires that a piece of an organic object be destroyed—washed with a strong acid and base at high temperature to remove impurities, and then set aflame.The resulting release of carbon dioxide is fed to an accelerator mass spectrometer, which measures the decay of radioactive carbon 14—the more the carbon 14 has decayed, the older the object is.
It’s a hugely exciting prospect, and a development Dig Ventures will be following with great interest!
By knowing the half-life of C-14 and estimating how many C-14 atoms the organism contained before it died, we can calculate the age of an object or creature at time of death.
Radio-carbon dating can only be effectively used on materials which once formed part of a living organism, which means that materials such as stone and metal can’t usually be directly dated in this way.
Like our own Digital Dig Team (which enables archaeologists to upload discoveries in 3D straight from the trenches), this new technique could transform the way field archaeologists work.
The time involved and expense of taking samples would be dramatically reduced, meaning that more samples can be taken, and theoretically, more can be learned from each site.
Full Author Profile Residents of Workington are being invited to take part in an archaeological excavation at local landmark Jane Pit, to help unearth more about the town’s past while also contributing to its future. Archaeology team set to investigate nationally-important site in east Yorkshire A team of archaeologists from Dig Ventures and the Portable Antiquities Scheme will start work at Elmswell Farms, near Driffield, this August to investigate nationally…