presented by Earth Science Australia
through the kind permission of the author Mark Gregory
In the 1940's Dr. Willard F. Libby invented carbon dating for which he received the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1960.
Carbon dating has given archeologists a more accurate method by which they can determine the age of ancient artifacts. The halflife of carbon 14 is 5730 ± 30 years, and the method of dating lies in trying to determine how much carbon 14 (the radioactive isotope of carbon) is present in the artifact and comparing it to levels currently present in the atmosphere.
Above is a graph that illustrates the relationship between how much Carbon 14 is left in a sample and how old it is.