Carbon dating has given archeologists a more accurate method by which they can determine the age of ancient artifacts.
Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 ± 40 years—, half the amount of the radioisotope present at any given time will undergo spontaneous disintegration during the succeeding 5,730 years.
In practice this is complicated by two factors: These effects are most clearly seen by looking at a specific example.
This plot shows how the radiocarbon measurement 3000 -30BP would be calibrated.
This figure is directly based on the proportion of radiocarbon found in the sample.
It is calculated on the assumption that the atmospheric radiocarbon concentration has always been the same as it was in 1950 and that the half-life of radiocarbon is 5568 years.