The process of radioactive dating

It is important that the radiocarbon scientists and archaeologists agree on the sampling strategy before starting the excavation so time, effort, and resources will not be wasted and meaningful result will be produced after the carbon dating process.It must be stressed that archaeologists need to interact with radiocarbon laboratories first before excavation due to several factors.1.Sample collection Contaminants must not be introduced to the samples during collection and storing.Hydrocarbons, glue, biocides, polyethylene glycol or polyvinyl acetate (PVA) must not come in contact with samples for radiocarbon dating.Calibration is then done to convert BP years into calendar years.This information is then related to true historical dates.The proportion of carbon 14 in the sample examined provides an indication of the time elapsed since death of the sample’s source.Radiocarbon dating results are reported in uncalibrated years BP (Before Present), where BP is defined as AD 1950.

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There is a greater part of man’s unwritten past that archaeology has managed to unravel.

Other potential contaminants include paper, cardboard, cotton wool, string and cigarette ash.3.

Sample storage Samples must be stored in packaging materials that will protect them during transport and even during prolonged storage.

Before deciding on using carbon dating as an analytical method, an archaeologist must first make sure that the results of radiocarbon dating after calibration can provide the needed answers to the archaeological questions asked.

The implication of what is represented by the carbon 14 activity of a sample must be considered.

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