Carbon dating inventor
Over the years, carbon 14 dating has also found applications in geology, hydrology, geophysics, atmospheric science, oceanography, paleoclimatology and even biomedicine.
Radiocarbon, or carbon 14, is an isotope of the element carbon that is unstable and weakly radioactive. Carbon 14 is continually being formed in the upper atmosphere by the effect of cosmic ray neutrons on nitrogen 14 atoms.
What we know about our past and the way people lived many hundreds of years ago is constantly changing.
This is because archaeologists, historians and scientists are always discovering new ways of looking at objects that are discovered.
Stable isotope analysis uses isotopes which are not radioactive, like carbon 13, so we call them stable isotopes.
The BBC programme ‘Meet The Ancestors’, presented by archaeologist Julian Richards, radiocarbon-dated some skeletons in 1998.
They could also tell what area of the country the people had lived in, what types of food they ate, what illnesses they may have had, where they had traveled to and from, and their age when they traveled, whether people who were found together were related to each other or not, how well or badly they were looked after by the people they lived with, what sort of work they might have done and all sorts of other facts about their lives.All living things have the same percentage of carbon-14 in them, but when they die the level starts going down.