Studying the material remains of past human life and activities may not seem important or exciting to the average Joe unlike the biological sciences.But archaeology’s aim to understand mankind is a noble endeavor that goes beyond uncovering buried treasures, gathering information, and dating events.Then, only exceptionally well-preserved, pristine samples can provide reliable dates.At Warratyi rock shelter in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia, which shows signs of the oldest human occupation of the country’s arid interior, the oldest sample – a fragment of emu eggshell – has been radiocarbon dated to 49,000 years with reasonable confidence.Anthropologists can describe a people’s physical character, culture, and environmental and social relations.Archaeologists, on the other hand, provide proof of authenticity of a certain artifact or debunk historical or anthropological findings.But once it dies, no more fresh radiocarbon is absorbed, and what’s left starts to decay.Once samples are older than around 40,000 years, though, amounts of radiocarbon remaining are very small and difficult to measure.
Relative techniques can determine the sequence of events but not the precise date of an event, making these methods unreliable.
What methods do they use and how do these methods work?
In this article, we will examine the methods by which scientists use radioactivity to determine the age of objects, most notably carbon-14 dating.
A child mummy is found high in the Andes and the archaeologist says the child lived more than 2,000 years ago.
How do scientists know how old an object or human remains are?