Radiocarbon dating lab exercise

Shellfish remains are common in coastal and estuarine archaeological sites, but dating these samples require a correction for the “reservoir effect” a process whereby "old carbon" is recycled and incorporated into marine life especially shellfish inflating their actual age in some cases several centuries.In recognition of this problem archaeologists have developed regional reservoir correction rates based on ocean bottom topography, water temperature, coastline shape and paired samples of terrestrial and marine objects found together in an archaeological feature such as a hearth.Therefore, radiocarbon dates need to be calibrated with other dating techniques to ensure accuracy.Plants are not the only organism that can process Carbon-14 from the air.

One good example would be the elevated levels of Carbon-14 in our atmosphere since WWII as a result of atomic bombs testing.

The Greeks consider the first Olympic Games as the beginning or 776 BC.

The Muslims count the Prophet’s departure from Mecca, or the Hegira, as their beginning at AD 662.

In a stratigraphical context objects closer to the surface are more recent in time relative to items deeper in the ground.

Although relative dating can work well in certain areas, several problems arise.

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