Carbon dating labs us
The half-life refers to the amount of time it takes for half the radiocarbon in a sample of bone or shell or any carbon sample to disappear.
Libby found that it took 5568 years for half the radiocarbon to decay.
The relative dating method worked very well, but only in sites which were had a connection to the relative scale. When radiocarbon dating was developed, it revolutionised archaeology, because it enabled them to more confidently date the past, and to build a more accurate picture of the human past.
The archaeologist Colin Renfrew (1973) called it the development of this dating method 'the radiocarbon revolution' in describing its great impact upon the human sciences.
It is called 'radio'-carbon, because it is 'radioactive'.
This means that its atomic structure is not stable and there is an uneasy relationship between the particles in the nucleus of the atom itself.
You can work out that after about 50 000 years of time, all the radiocarbon will have gone.
The person who wrote these words lived in the 1800s, many years before archaeologists could accurately date materials from archaeological sites using scientific methods.After the war he became very interested in peaceful applications of atomic science.He and two students first measured the "half-life" of radiocarbon.Eventually, a particle is emitted from the carbon 14 atom, and carbon 14 disappears.Most of the carbon on Earth exists in a slightly different atomic form, although it is chemically speaking, identical to all carbon.