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However, a number of things can easily go wrong during this stage of the process and the labs that calculate radiocarbon dates are subject to constant scrutiny to ensure that they are up to par; but even so, samples sent to different labs often produce slightly various results. These are established by a variety of elements, including but not limited to: the quality of the sample, the quality of the lab, and the age of the sample.
When that organism dies, the carbon fourteen decays at a known exponential rate: making it possible to calculate the approximate time when the organism died based on how much carbon fourteen remains in a sample of the dead material.
The historians of one hundred years ago could only dream of such a wonderful, albeit frightening atomic clock ticking away, helping to mark the passing of the years and the ages of man.
No scientific technique is perfect, despite sometimes obsequious media coverage of their capabilities.
This date can then be calibrated with dendrochronology, sediment cores, and/or other dating methods to ensure maximum accuracy and account for discrepancies in the amount of carbon fourteen in the atmosphere over the past few centuries. Regardless of these issues, carbon dating is still one of the most effective tools in the archaeologist’s kit.
The newly calibrated result is then given as a more absolute B. which can be correlated to whichever calendar system necessary (though is most often calibrated to the Gregorian B. It has provided illumination where none was once thought possible.
Among other scholarly scientific suppositions, it assumes that the amount of carbon fourteen in the atmosphere has remained constant bar minor recent fluctuations due to the industrialization of the past few centuries and our impact on the environment.