) can have their carbon date measured to work out how old they are.
The important element is called The carbon-14 level of the object is then measured by scientists.
One of the basic assumptions in carbon-14 dating is that the sample being analyzed has undergone only radioactive decay and has remained unaltered by any other process over the years since it ceased interaction with the biosphere. The archaeological artifacts and geological specimens sent to labs for radiocarbon dating are usually found embedded or buried with other materials that may have affected their radiocarbon content.
Any carbon-containing material that affects the carbon 14 content of any given sample is therefore a contaminant.
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When it comes to determining the age of stuff scientists dig out of the ground, whether fossil or artifact, “there are good dates and bad dates and ugly dates,” says paleoanthropologist John Shea of Stony Brook University.
They can also apply the new methods of studying old objects to things that have been dug up for many years.
Biostratigraphy: One of the first and most basic scientific dating methods is also one of the easiest to understand.
Natural contamination pertains to the introduction of contaminants to the sample by its surrounding material.
For example, bone samples can be contaminated by the presence of limestone or organic acids in the soil (like humic or fulvic acids) where the bones were found.
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