Radiocarbon dating effects
The Radiocarbon Revolution Since its development by Willard Libby in the 1940s, radiocarbon (14C) dating has become one of the most essential tools in archaeology.
Most importantly, researchers discovered that radiocarbon dates are affected by the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, which has fluctuated greatly in the past for both natural and human-caused reasons (such as the invention of iron smelting, the Industrial Revolution, and the invention of the combustion engine).
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 application of Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) for radiocarbon dating in the late 1970s was also a major achievement.
P.), when placed after a number (as in 2500 BP), means "years Before the Present." Archaeologists and geologists generally use this abbreviation to refer to dates that were obtained through the radiocarbon dating technology.
While BP is also used generally as an imprecise estimate of an age of an object or event, the use of it in science was made necessary by the quirks of the radiocarbon methodology.
AB - We summarize how radiocarbon measurements are made using accelerator mass spectrometry.