Radiocarbon dating

Hajdas, I., Ascough, P. , Garnett, M. H. , Fallon, S. J., Pearson, C. L., Quarta, G., Spalding, K. L., Yamaguchi, H. and Yoneda, M. (2021) Radiocarbon dating. Nature Reviews Methods Primers, 1, 62. (doi: 10.1038/s43586-021-00058-7)

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Radiocarbon dating uses the decay of a radioactive isotope of carbon (14C) to measure time and date objects containing carbon-bearing material. With a half-life of 5,700 ± 30 years, detection of 14C is a useful tool for determining the age of a specimen formed over the past 55,000 years. In this Primer, we outline key advances in 14C measurement and instrument capacity, as well as optimal sample selection and preparation. We discuss data processing, carbon reservoir age correction, calibration and statistical analyses. We then outline examples of radiocarbon dating across a range of applications, from anthropology and palaeoclimatology to forensics and medical science. Reproducibility and minimum reporting standards are discussed along with potential issues related to accuracy and sensitivity. Finally, we look forwards to the adoption of radiocarbon dating in various fields of research thanks to continued instrument improvement.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:S.J.F. acknowledges support from the Research School of Earth Sciences and the Australian National University (ANU). C.L.P. acknowledges support from the Malcolm H. Wiener Foundation, University of Arizona and members of the IntCal Working Group. K.L.S. acknowledges support of her research from the Swedish Research Council (542-2013-8358), Strategic Research Program for Diabetes at Karolinska Institutet (C5471152), Novo Nordisk Foundation (NNF12OC1016064, NNF20OC0063944), Vallee Foundation Vallee Scholar Award (C5471234) and Karolinska Institutet/AstraZeneca Integrated Cardiometabolic Centre (H725701603).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Garnett, Dr Mark and Ascough, Dr Philippa
Authors: Hajdas, I., Ascough, P., Garnett, M. H., Fallon, S. J., Pearson, C. L., Quarta, G., Spalding, K. L., Yamaguchi, H., and Yoneda, M.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Nature Reviews Methods Primers
Publisher:Nature Research
ISSN (Online):2662-8449
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 Springer Nature
First Published:First published in Nature Reviews Methods Primers 1:62
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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