Radiocarbon dating is one of the principal tools that archaeologists use to determine the age of the sites they investigate.
As a research tool, Lifeways regularly carries out radiocarbon dating.
A compass is used to determine the current location of magnetic north in relation to the alignment of the cube before it is removed from the hearth.
In the laboratory, a magnetometer measures the orientation of the iron particles in the samples.
Most carbon atoms have six protons and six neutrons in their nuclei and are called carbon 12. But a tiny percentage of carbon is made of carbon 14, or radiocarbon, which has six protons and eight neutrons and is not stable: half of any sample of it decays into other atoms after 5,700 years.
Carbon 14 is continually being created in the Earth's atmosphere by the interaction of nitrogen and gamma rays from outer space.
Each time the fire pit is reheated, the magnetization is reset.
Therefore, archaeomagnetic dating is used to date the last time the fire pit was heated.
So by measuring carbon 14 levels in an organism that died long ago, researchers can figure out when it died.
The rate of decrease is 1/2 the quantity at death every 5,730 years. Comparing the amount of C-14 in a dead organism to available levels in the atmosphere produces an estimate of when that organism died. Radiocarbon dates provide a statistical range instead of an absolute year (eg., A. 950 ± 20 years), meaning that the plant died sometime between A. The earth’s north magnetic pole moves back and forth over time due to magnetic changes in the earth’s core.
This movement has been mapped and various positions have been dated.
Since atmospheric carbon 14 arises at about the same rate that the atom decays, the Earth's levels of carbon 14 have remained constant.
In living organisms, which are always taking in carbon, the levels of carbon 14 likewise stay constant.