Carbon 14 dating stone
He concluded that they belonged to a Roman-era witch or prostitute.
“He did a good job of excavating, but he interpreted it totally wrong,” says Tom Higham, a 46-year-old archaeological scientist at the University of Oxford's Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit.
“It is another sobering example of cocked-up dates,” says Higham, whose laboratory is leading a revolution in radiocarbon dating.
By developing techniques that strip ancient samples of impurities, he and his team have established more accurate ages for the remains from dozens of archaeological sites.
“I want to know the truth” is something he says a lot.On examining freshly caught fish from the River Trave the results revealed not only a large reservoir effect, but also a dramatic variance from between 500 to 2100 years.In effect, this means that some of the fish swimming in the Trave today seem to be over 2000 years old, when radiocarbon dated.If such a fish is then cooked in a ceramic pot, the radiocarbon age of the food crust will be higher than if a terrestrial animal was cooked in the pot.
This is known as the “reservoir effect” because the fish’s carbon actually comes from another “reservoir” than the carbon in terrestrial animals from the surrounding area.Now armed with the knowledge produced by The Aarhus AMS 14C Dating Centre, a group of researchers actually cooked some fish stew in ceramic pots.