Archaeological dating techniques

From X-ray guns that can identify an artifact's chemical makeup to ground-penetrating radar that can detect buried pyramids, the technologies used to study ancient human civilizations are anything but ancient."Like all technology, we get this faster, smaller, better trend," said archaeologist Ellery Frahm of the University of Sheffield, in England. Traditionally, archaeologists have been limited by the number of artifacts they can transport from the field or from a museum to a lab where they can be analyzed.

The colour and state of the soil may be useful in the investigation.

The Mayan calendar used 3114 BC as their reference.

More recently is the radiocarbon date of 1950 AD or before present, BP.

By measuring the ratio of the radio isotope to non-radioactive carbon, the amount of carbon-14 decay can be worked out, thereby giving an age for the specimen in question.

But that assumes that the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere was constant — any variation would speed up or slow down the clock.


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