Cost of carbon dating

In contrast to relative dating techniques whereby artifacts were simply designated as "older" or "younger" than other cultural remains based on the presence of fossils or stratigraphic position, 14C dating provided an easy and increasingly accessible way for archaeologists to construct chronologies of human behavior and examine temporal changes through time at a finer scale than what had previously been possible.

The method takes advantage of the natural occurrence of a radioactive isotope of carbon (C in samples of ancient carbon compounds and comparing this with the amount in modern materials, it is possible to determine the time of cessation of carbon exchange with the atmosphere.Recall that atoms are the basic building blocks of matter.Atoms are made up of much smaller particles called protons, neutrons, and electrons.Because of the somewhat short half-life of 14C, radiocarbon dating is not applicable to samples with ages greater than about 50,000 years, because the remaining concentration would be too small for accurate measurement.Thermoluminescence dating: this method is associated with the effect of the high energy radiation emitted as a result of the decay or radioactive impurities.

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