History, anthropology, and archaeology are three distinct but closely related bodies of knowledge that tell man of his present by virtue of his past.
Historians can tell what cultures thrived in different regions and when they disintegrated.
Anthropologists can describe a people’s physical character, culture, and environmental and social relations.
Archaeologists, on the other hand, provide proof of authenticity of a certain artifact or debunk historical or anthropological findings.
When objects of the Old Kingdom and Middle Kingdom of Egypt yielded carbon dates that appeared roughly comparable with the historical dates, Libby made his method known.
With initial large margin of error and anything that did not square with expectation, judged as contaminated, the method appeared to work and was hailed as completely reliablejust as the atomic clock is reliableand this nobody doubted.
Atoms of the same element that have different numbers of neutrons are called isotopes. Most carbon on Earth exists as the very stable isotope carbon-12, with a very small amount as carbon-13.
Here’s an example using the simplest atom, hydrogen. Carbon-14 is an unstable isotope of carbon that will eventually decay at a known rate to become carbon-12.
Because the cosmic ray bombardment is fairly constant, there’s a near-constant level of carbon-14 to carbon-12 ratio in Earth’s atmosphere.Studying the material remains of past human life and activities may not seem important or exciting to the average Joe unlike the biological sciences.But archaeology’s aim to understand mankind is a noble endeavor that goes beyond uncovering buried treasures, gathering information, and dating events.But as the method was refined, it started to show rather regular anomalies.First, it was noticed that, when radiocarbon dated, wood grown in the 20th century appears more ancient than wood grown in the 19th century.