Question: Does radiocarbon dating destroy the sample?

Radiocarbon dating is a destructive process. Hence, because of its ability to analyze samples even in minute amounts, accelerator mass spectrometry is the method of choice for archaeologists with small artifacts and those who cannot destroy very expensive or rare materials.Radiocarbon dating is a destructive process. Hence, because of its ability to analyze samples even in minute amounts, accelerator mass spectrometry

What is one limitation of radiocarbon dating?

Radiocarbon dating is therefore limited to objects that are younger than 50,000 to 60,000 years or so. (Since humans have only existed in the Americas for approximately 12,000 years, this is not a serious limitation to southwest archaeology.) Radiocarbon dating is also susceptible to contamination.

What does radiocarbon dating do?

Radiocarbon dating is a technique used by scientists to learn the ages of biological specimens – for example, wooden archaeological artifacts or ancient human remains – from the distant past. It can be used on objects as old as about 62,000 years.

How can a radiocarbon sample be contaminated?

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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