Why is carbon 14 useful in radioactive dating
In 1949, American chemist Willard Libby, who worked on the development of the atomic bomb, published the first set of radiocarbon dates.
His radiocarbon dating technique is the most important development in absolute dating in archaeology and remains the main tool for dating the past 50,000 years.
Plankton absorbs, Carbon-14 from the ocean much like terrestrial plants absorb Carbon-14 from the air.
Since plankton is the foundation of the marine food chain, Carbon-14 is spread throughout aquatic life.
Historical documents and calendars can be used to find such absolute dates; however, when working in a site without such documents, it is hard for absolute dates to be determined.
The extra neutrons in Carbon-14’s case make it radioactive (thus the term, radiocarbon).
Radiocarbon is produced in the upper atmosphere after Nitrogen-14 isotopes have been impacted by cosmic radiation.
Rodents, for example, can create havoc in a site by moving items from one context to another.
Natural disasters like floods can sweep away top layers of sites to other locations.