Over the course of our lifetimes, we take in 3 isotopes of carbon.The ratio of the first two - 12C and 13C - can tell us about the diet of an animal, or the drought-resistance of a plant.However, limiting ages or "backgrounds" are also determined by process blanks which correspond to the method used to extract the carbon from the sample.» NOSAMS General Statement of C from contamination introduced during chemical preparation, collection or handling.They used pottery and other materials in sites to date 'relatively'.They thought that sites which had the same kinds of pots and tools would be the same age.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."Everything which has come down to us from heathendom is wrapped in a thick fog; it belongs to a space of time we cannot measure.
We also don't just provide a date, but also context to help you interpret the information.
However, it is up to the submitter to define and select the materials to be dated: for example, since you know your samples far better than we do, it’s your job to pick out the macrofossils or charcoal to be dated from within the sediment or peat matrix.
Specialized services such as pollen or foram picking or individual compound separation are not offered.
Rasmus Nyerup's quote reminds us of the tremendous scientific advances which have taken place in the 20th century.
In Nyerup's time, archaeologists could date the past only by using recorded histories, which in Europe were based mainly on the Egyptian calendar.