Many people might have no doubt heard about the word “dating”, a new culture that has crept into the life in recent years, especially among the young men and women. Dating among celebrities is of course a hot cake news among the newspapers and magazines. What we want to discuss has nothing related to dating as is understood among common people.
“Carbon dating” is a boon for the archaeologists.
Carbon dating, also referred to as “radiocarbon dating” in technical terms, refers to the process of determining the age of a carbonaceous material which might be as old as 58,000 years to 62,000 years.
This interesting discovery has been propounded by William Libby in the year 1949 at the University of Chicago. It was this for great invention or discovery, William Libby was honored with the Noble Prize for Chemistry in the year 1969.
William Libby has proved his novel concept by accurately calculating the age of a wooden piece of ancient Egyptian origin excavated by the archaeological department. The age determined by William Libby perfectly coincided with the historical records about that particular wooden piece.
In simple terms, without any major requirement of major scientific knowledge to understand the intricacies of an innovation of this nature, let us try to understand what this carbon dating actually refer to. The naturally occurring radioisotope carbon in the process of photosynthesis that matches with the atmosphere at that time is what makes it possible for determining the age of any thing. The radioisotope carbon or C-14 as it is technically is discovered to have a half-life of about 5,730 years. This C-14 carbon will be present in all substances. The process of identifying the C-14 carbon and the extent of decay of C-14 in a material can be used for finding out the exact date of the material, is what William Libby discovered and proved to the scientific world.
Now, the technique of carbon dating is used by the archaeologists to accurately date the period or age of any material, be it the age of the inscriptions or the kind of materials that were used in those days.
Archeology is becoming a very high-level sophisticated field of study, equipped with discoveries such as carbon-dating, dendrochronology and such other fascinating things.