New carbon dating


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.



Sometimes only one method is possible, reducing the confidence researchers have in the results. “They’re based on ‘it’s that old because I say so,’ a popular approach by some of my older colleagues,” says Shea, laughing, “though I find I like it myself as I get more gray hair.” Kidding aside, dating a find is crucial for understanding its significance and relation to other fossils or artifacts.In his process, an object is placed in a vacuum chamber and a supercritical fluid—a hybrid gas/liquid—is applied as a solvent (as in dry cleaning).Next, Rowe passes plasma—an "electrically excited ionized gas"—over the artifact, which selectively strips carbon from the sample.They then use that absolute date to establish a relative age for fossils and artifacts in relation to that layer. Anything below the Taupo tephra is earlier than 232; anything above it is later.

For example, New Zealand’s massive Taupo volcano erupted in A. Relative chronology: Researchers have often constructed timelines of a culture or civilization based on the stylistic evolution of its decorative or dramatic arts — that’s why the method is also sometimes called stylistic seriation.

Methods fall into one of two categories: relative or absolute.