Carbon 12 dating
Writing of the European Upper Palaeolithic, Movius (1960) concluded that "time alone is the lens that can throw it into focus".
The radiocarbon method was developed by a team of scientists led by the late Professor Willard F.
When an organism dies it ceases to replenish carbon in its tissues and the decay of carbon 14 to nitrogen 14 changes the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14.
Experts can compare the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in dead material to the ratio when the organism was alive to estimate the date of its death.
Radiocarbon dating can be used on samples of bone, cloth, wood and plant fibers.
Nyerup's words illustrate poignantly the critical power and importance of dating; to order time.
The rapidity of the dispersal of C14 into the atmosphere has been demonstrated by measurements of radioactive carbon produced from thermonuclear bomb testing.
14C also enters the Earth's oceans in an atmospheric exchange and as dissolved carbonate (the entire 14C inventory is termed the carbon exchange reservoir (Aitken, 1990)).
Thus, one carbon 14 atom exists in nature for every 1,000,000,000,000 C12 atoms in living material.
The radiocarbon method is based on the rate of decay of the radioactive or unstable carbon isotope 14 (14C), which is formed in the upper atmosphere through the effect of cosmic ray neutrons upon nitrogen 14.