When does carbon 14 dating become impractical
Take the extinction of Neanderthals, which occurred in western Europe less than 30,000 years ago.
Archaeologists vehemently disagree over the effects changing climate and competition from recently arriving humans had on the Neanderthals' demise.
She will lead efforts to combine the Lake Suigetsu measurements with marine and cave records to come up with a new standard for carbon dating.
“If you’re trying to look at archaeological sites at the order of 30,000 or 40,000 years ago, the ages may shift by only a few hundred years but that may be significant in putting them before or after changes in climate,” he says.
The more accurate carbon clock should yield better dates for any overlap of humans and Neanderthals, as well as for determining how climate changes influenced the extinction of Neanderthals.
“If you have a better estimate of when the last Neanderthals lived to compare to climate records in Greenland or elsewhere, then you’ll have a better idea of whether the extinction was climate driven or competition with modern humans,” says Paula Reimer, a geochronologist at Queen’s University in Belfast, UK.
A child mummy is found high in the Andes and the archaeologist says the child lived more than 2,000 years ago.
How do scientists know how old an object or human remains are?
Bronk Ramsey’s team aimed to fill this gap by using sediment from bed of Lake Suigetsu, west of Tokyo.