How do scientists know how old an object or human remains are?What methods do they use and how do these methods work?At an archaeological dig, a piece of wooden tool is unearthed and the archaeologist finds it to be 5,000 years old.
In this article, we will examine the methods by which scientists use radioactivity to determine the age of objects, most notably carbon-14 dating.
Carbon-14 dating is a way of determining the age of certain archeological artifacts of a biological origin up to about 50,000 years old.
For example, if a context is sealed between two other contexts of known date, it can be inferred that the middle context must date to between those dates.
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You probably have seen or read news stories about fascinating ancient artifacts.On the other hand, remains as recent as a hundred years old can also be the target of archaeological dating methods.It was the case of an 18th-century sloop whose excavation was led in South Carolina (United States) in 1992.This is admitted because of the simple reason that some botanical species, whether extinct or not, are well known as belonging to a determined position in the scale of time.For a non-exhaustive list of relative dating methods and relative dating applications used in geology, paleontology or archaeology, see the following: Same as geologists or paleontologists, archaeologists are also brought to determine the age of ancient materials, but in their case the areas of their studies are restricted to the history of both ancient and recent humans.Thus, to be considered as archaeological, the remains, objects or artifacts to be dated must be related to human activity.