Definition for radiocarbon dating
This technique works well for materials up to around 50,000 years old.
Each radioactive isotope decays by a fixed amount, and this amount is called the half-life.
It is often used on valuable artwork to confirm authenticity.
For example, look at this image of the opening of King Tutankhamen's tomb near Luxor, Egypt during the 1920s.
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Measuring the amount of radioactive carbon-14 remaining makes it possible to work out how old the artifact is, whether it's a fossilized skeleton or a magnificent piece of artwork.
Carbon-14 is a radioactive isotope and is present in all living things in a constant amount.
Because of the carbon cycle, there is always carbon-14 present in both the air and in living organisms.
After viewing the video on carbon dating, use your newfound knowledge to: Did you know…
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