By knowing how much carbon-14 is left in a sample, the age of the organism and when it died can be worked out.
Radiocarbon dating has been used extensively since its discovery.
However, once the organism dies, the amount of carbon-14 steadily decreases.
By measuring the amount of carbon-14 left in the organism, it's possible to work out how old it is.
Carbon dating was used routinely from the 1950s onward, and it confirmed the age of these historical remains.
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Free 5-day trial Ever wondered how scientists know the age of old bones in an ancient site or how old a scrap of linen is?
The technique used is called carbon dating, and in this lesson we will learn what this is and how it is used. Carbon dating, or radiocarbon dating, is a method used to date materials that once exchanged carbon dioxide with the atmosphere. In the late 1940s, an American physical chemist named Willard Libby first developed a method to measure radioactivity of carbon-14, a radioactive isotope.