Carbon dating not useful metal artifacts

The results showed that Ötzi died over 5000 years ago, sometime between 33 BC. Uranium has a very long half-life and so by measuring how much uranium is left in a rock its approximate age can be worked out.

There's a small amount of radioactive carbon-14 in all living organisms.

When they die no new carbon-14 is taken in by the dead organism.

There are three carbon isotopes that occur as part of the Earth's natural processes; these are carbon-12, carbon-13 and carbon-14.

The unstable nature of carbon 14 (with a precise half-life that makes it easy to measure) means it is ideal as an absolute dating method.

Radiocarbon dating may only be used on organic materials.

Last modified 24-Feb-2016 10:01