The technology uses a series of mathematical calculations—the most recognizable of which is known as half-life—to estimate the age the organism stopped ingesting the isotope.
Unfortunately, the amount of Carbon-14 in the atmosphere has not been steady throughout history.
These materials are the most widely used material in radiocarbon dating.
Since the inception of the technique in the 1950s, charcoal has been acknowledged as a most reliable material for dating (Libby, 1955).
With the support of the National Science Foundation, Dr. Towner, colleagues and students will examine the 'old wood' problem in radiocarbon dating of archaeological sites in western Colorado and eastern Utah.
The old wood problem is the tendency for radiocarbon (14C) determinations from wood charcoal to be significantly older than the contexts in which the charcoal is found.
This content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans.
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access.
This variation is caused by both natural processes and human activity.
This methodological framework is applied to Hohokam radiocarbon dates, and a chronology much shorter than the original Gladwin-Haury formulation is supported.
The old wood effect or old wood problem is a pitfall encountered in the archaeological technique of radiocarbon dating.
In fact, many important archaeological artifacts have been dated using this method including some of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Shroud of Turin.
Though radiocarbon dating is startlingly accurate for the most part, it has a few sizable flaws.