Radiocarbon dating (also referred to as carbon dating or carbon-14 dating) is a method for determining the age of an object containing organic material by using the properties of radiocarbon, a radioactive isotope of carbon.
What is carbon-14 dating and why is it useful?
Over time, carbon-14 decays in predictable ways. And with the help of radiocarbon dating, researchers can use that decay as a kind of clock that allows them to peer into the past and determine absolute dates for everything from wood to food, pollen, poop, and even dead animals and humans.
Why is carbon dating so important?
His radiocarbon dating technique is the most important development in absolute dating in archaeology and remains the main tool for dating the past 50,000 years. How It Works: After an organism dies, the radiocarbon decreases through a regular pattern of decay. This is called the half-life of the isotope.