Carbon dating for kids

The approximate time since the organism died can be worked out by measuring the amount of carbon-14 left in its remains compared to the amount in living organisms.

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Looking at the graph, 100% of radiocarbon in a sample will be reduced to 50% after 5730 years.

Historical documents and calendars can be used to find such absolute dates; however, when working in a site without such documents, it is hard for absolute dates to be determined.

As long as there is organic material present, radiocarbon dating is a universal dating technique that can be applied anywhere in the world.

Relative dating stems from the idea that something is younger or older relative to something else.

In a stratigraphical context objects closer to the surface are more recent in time relative to items deeper in the ground.

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