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Lecture 14

Lecture 14 – Radiocarbon Dating

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Anthropology 2229F/G
Christopher Ellis

Lecture 14 Part 3 – Radiocarbon Dating  6. Isotopic Fractionation  Assumes plants gain carbon randomly from the atmosphere  Don’t favour C-12 to C-14  Plants can be biased for/against certain isotopes of carbon  C-14 molecules move more quickly and are taken in preferentially by plants o E.g. corn (maize), millet: take in more radiocarbon than is in the atmosphere  Still probably the most reliable technique that we have today  We can control for biases  Recent fluctuations of the Earth’s magnetic fields, cosmic rays and glaciation can be corrected for  Date objects of known ages to see what the difference is and correct the date by taking it into account  Farther back in time we go, the radiocarbon dates are underestimating the age by about 2000 years o But differences are systematic, can fix the date based on the systematic deviation  Called correction f
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