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The method also assumes a 'zeroing' event in the life of the material, when it was either last heated or exposed to sunlight.Welcome to the K12 section of the Radiocarbon WEBinfo site.Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 years so dating is limited to between a few hundred and about 50,000 years. It is also important that samples for dating are collected carefully to ensure they have not been contaminated with more recent carbon.Radiocarbon analysis can only be used on organic materials, and is often used to date charcoal associated with campfires and archaeological deposits.

To determine the year age (absolute age) of an object, a number of chemical and radioactive techniques can be used.A number of methods are used, all of which have their advantages, limitations and level of accuracy.Complex dating problems often use a variety of techniques and information to arrive at the best answer.The aim here is to provide clear, understandable information relating to radiocarbon dating for the benefit of K12 students, as well as lay people who are not requiring detailed information about the method of radiocarbon dating itself.I have tried here to answer some of the frequently asked questions that I receive from students via email, as well as providing some basic information about scientific dating methods.

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