Methods dating ancient artifacts
In the new method, scientists place an entire artifact in a special chamber with a plasma, an electrically charged gas similar to gases used in big-screen plasma television displays.
The gas slowly and gently oxidizes the surface of the object to produce carbon dioxide for C-14 analysis without damaging the surface, he said.
Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 ± 40 years, meaning that every 5,700 years or so the object loses half its carbon-14.
Samples from the past 70,000 years made of wood, charcoal, peat, bone, antler or one of many other carbonates may be dated using this technique.
Rowe and his colleagues used the technique to analyze the ages of about 20 different organic substances, including wood, charcoal, leather, rabbit hair, a bone with mummified flesh attached, and a 1,350-year-old Egyptian weaving.
The results match those of conventional carbon dating techniques, they say.
Then they treat the sample with a strong acid and a strong base and finally burn the sample in a small glass chamber to produce carbon dioxide gas to analyze its C-14 content.
Rowe’s new method, called “non-destructive carbon dating,” eliminates sampling, the destructive acid-base washes, and burning.
In theory, it could even be used to date the Shroud of Turin.” Rowe explained that the new method is a form of radiocarbon dating, the archaeologist’s standard tool to estimate the age of an object by measuring its content of naturally-occurring radioactive carbon.The following is a list of dating techniques used in archaeology and other sciences. Stratigraphy Stratigraphy is the most basic and intuitive dating technique and is therefore also the oldest of the relative dating techniques.It is more or less in the order of discovery of each procedure. Based on the law of Superposition, stratigraphy states that lower layers should be older than layers closer to the surface, and in the world of archaeology this is generally the case, unless some natural or manmade event has literally mixed up the layers in some fashion.Though still heavily used, relative dating is now augmented by several modern dating techniques.Radiocarbon dating involves determining the age of an ancient fossil or specimen by measuring its carbon-14 content.
It would be hard to imagine modern archaeology without this elegant and precise timing method.