Different types dating techniques used archaeology

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The relatively short half-life of carbon-14, 5,730 years, makes dating reliable only up to about 50,000 years.The technique often cannot pinpoint the date of an archeological site better than historic records, but is highly effective for precise dates when calibrated with other dating techniques such as tree-ring dating.The half-life of potassium-40 is 1.3 billion years, far longer than that of carbon-14, allowing much older samples to be dated.Potassium is common in rocks and minerals, allowing many samples of geochronological or archeological interest to be dated.

It is possible, particularly in dry, desert climates, for organic materials such as from dead trees to remain in their natural state for hundreds of years before people use them as firewood or building materials, after which they become part of the archaeological record.Many factors can spoil the sample before testing as well, exposing the sample to heat or direct light may cause some of the electrons to dissipate, causing the item to date younger.Because of these and other factors, Thermoluminescence is at the most about 15% accurate.Heating an item to 500 degrees Celsius or higher releases the trapped electrons, producing light.This light can be measured to determine the last time the item was heated. Fluctuating levels can skew results – for example, if an item went through several high radiation eras, thermoluminescence will return an older date for the item.

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