After the war he became very interested in peaceful applications of atomic science.He and two students first measured the "half-life" of radiocarbon.The relative dating method worked very well, but only in sites which were had a connection to the relative scale. When radiocarbon dating was developed, it revolutionised archaeology, because it enabled them to more confidently date the past, and to build a more accurate picture of the human past.The archaeologist Colin Renfrew (1973) called it the development of this dating method 'the radiocarbon revolution' in describing its great impact upon the human sciences.The job of a radiocarbon laboratory is to measure the remaining amounts of radiocarbon in a carbon sample.This is very difficult and requires a lot of careful work to produce reliable dates.During the period of a plant's life, the plant is taking in carbon dioxide through photosynthesis, which is how the plant makes energy and grows.
They thought that sites which had the same kinds of pots and tools would be the same age.Rasmus Nyerup's quote reminds us of the tremendous scientific advances which have taken place in the 20th century.In Nyerup's time, archaeologists could date the past only by using recorded histories, which in Europe were based mainly on the Egyptian calendar.The half-life refers to the amount of time it takes for half the radiocarbon in a sample of bone or shell or any carbon sample to disappear.
Libby found that it took 5568 years for half the radiocarbon to decay.
After twice that time (about 11000 years), another half of that remaining amount will have disappeared.