Calibrated vs uncalibrated carbon dating

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Other high profile projects include the dating of the Turin Shroud to the medieval period, the dating of the Dead Sea Scrolls to around the time of Christ, and the somewhat controversial dating of the spectacular rock art at Chauvet Cave to c.38,000 cal BP (c.32,000 BP) – thousands of years earlier than expected.Radiocarbon dating has also been used to date the extinction of the woolly mammoth and contributed to the debate over whether modern humans and Neanderthals met.The calibrated date is also presented, either in BC or AD or with the unit cal BP (calibrated before present - before 1950).

This supported the idea that the classical worlds of Greece and Rome were at the centre of all innovations.Professor Willard Libby produced the first radiocarbon dates in 1949 and was later awarded the Nobel Prize for his efforts.Radiocarbon dating works by comparing the three different isotopes of carbon.From these records a “calibration curve” can be built (see figure 2, below).A huge amount of work is currently underway to extend and improve the calibration curve.

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