How do archaeologists use radiocarbon dating

Some of the first radiocarbon dates produced showed that the Scottish tombs were thousands of years older than those in Greece.The barbarians of the north were capable of designing complex structures similar to those in the classical world.In this way large domed tombs (known as tholos or beehive tombs) in Greece were thought to predate similar structures in the Scottish Island of Maeshowe.This supported the idea that the classical worlds of Greece and Rome were at the centre of all innovations.

Then, by using the idea that the styles of objects evolve, becoming increasing elaborate over time, they could place them in order relative to each other - a technique called seriation.Isotopes of a particular element have the same number of protons in their nucleus, but different numbers of neutrons.This means that although they are very similar chemically, they have different masses.Radioactive decay can be used as a “clock” because it is unaffected by physical (e.g. For instance, the amount varies according to how many cosmic rays reach Earth.This is affected by solar activity and the earth’s magnetic field.

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