Radiocarbon dating service
Probably the most important factor to consider when using radiocarbon dating is if external factors, whether through artificial contamination, animal disturbance, or human negligence, contributed to any errors in the determinations. Radiocarbon decays slowly in a living organism, and the amount lost is continually replenished as long as the organism takes in air or food.The application of Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) for radiocarbon dating in the late 1970s was also a major achievement.Compared to conventional radiocarbon techniques such as Libby's solid carbon counting, the gas counting method popular in the mid-1950s, or liquid scintillation (LS) counting, AMS permitted the dating of much smaller sized samples with even greater precision.This means that things like stone, metal and pottery cannot usually be directly dated by this means unless there is some organic material embedded or left as a residue.As explained below, the radiocarbon date tells us when the organism was alive (not when the material was used).We also offer liquid scintillation analysis using an extra low background Quantulus 1220 for high precision measurements on benzene.Very small samples (less than 300 mg) are analyzed by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS).
Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 ± 40 years— during the succeeding 5,730 years.
Regardless of the particular 14C technique used, the value of this tool for archaeology has clearly been appreciated.