Carbon dating accuracy range

by Helen Fryman Question: What about radiocarbon dating? Response: I asked several people who know about this field. (1.) C14 dating is very accurate for wood used up to about 4,000 years ago.

This is only because it is well calibrated with objects of known age.

It is too soon to know whether the discovery will seriously upset the estimated dates of events like the arrival of human beings in the Western Hemisphere, scientists said.

For object over 4,000 years old the method becomes very unreliable for the following reason: Objects older then 4,000 years run into a problem in that there are few if any known artifacts to be used as the standard.

Since 1947, scientists have reckoned the ages of many old objects by measuring the amounts of radioactive carbon they contain.

New research shows, however, that some estimates based on carbon may have erred by thousands of years.

There are two techniques for dating in archaeological sites: relative and absolute dating.

Relative dating stems from the idea that something is younger or older relative to something else.