Professor Willard Libby produced the first radiocarbon dates in 1949 and was later awarded the Nobel Prize for his efforts.
Radiocarbon dating works by comparing the three different isotopes of carbon.
The total mass of the isotope is indicated by the numerical superscript.
While the lighter isotopes C has decayed that what remains can no longer be measured. In 5,730 years half of the C in the atmosphere, and therefore in plants and animals, has not always been constant.
Radiocarbon dating—also known as carbon-14 dating—is a technique used by archaeologists and historians to determine the age of organic material.
It can theoretically be used to date anything that was alive any time during the last 60,000 years or so, including charcoal from ancient fires, wood used in construction or tools, cloth, bones, seeds, and leather.
Rachel Wood does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.
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They determined that the Red Lady was in fact a man, and that the ornaments resembled those found at much older sites in continental Europe.
Isotopes of a particular element have the same number of protons in their nucleus, but different numbers of neutrons.
This means that although they are very similar chemically, they have different masses.
Carbon has an atomic number of 6, an atomic weight of 12.011, and has three isotopes: carbon-12, carbon-13, and carbon-14.
(The numbers 12, 13 and 14 refer to the total number of protons plus neutrons in the atom's nucleus.