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Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin
By Andy Coghlan. THE MARGIN of error with radiocarbon dating, an analytical method for finding out the age of ancient artefacts, may be two to three times as great as practitioners of the technique have claimed. The shortcomings of the method, revealed earlier this month at a workshop at East Kilbride near Glasgow in Scotland, mean that while some laboratories consistently date artefacts correctly almost to the year, others are up to years out. The finding means that some artefacts whose age was determined by radiocarbon dating might actually be considerably older or younger than the results suggest. The research community is keen to improve standards in the light of the findings, and has agreed a plan of action to this end. Of the 38, only seven produced results that the organisers of the trial considered to be satisfactory. His laboratory was one of only three from Britain that participated.
The Pitfalls of Radiocarbon Dating
Radiocarbon dating is one of the best known archaeological dating techniques available to scientists, and the many people in the general public have at least heard of it. But there are many misconceptions about how radiocarbon works and how reliable a technique it is. Radiocarbon dating was invented in the s by the American chemist Willard F. Libby and a few of his students at the University of Chicago: in , he won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the invention. It was the first absolute scientific method ever invented: that is to say, the technique was the first to allow a researcher to determine how long ago an organic object died, whether it is in context or not.
Radiocarbon dating , also known as the C14 dating method , is a way of telling how old an object is. It is a type of radiometric dating. The method uses the radioactive isotope carbon Most organic matter contains carbon. Carbon has different isotopes , which are usually not radioactive.