Carbon Dating

Notes from this Reference :

  1. When cosmic neutrons hit Nitrogen, radioactive carbon is formed.
  2. 14N + n = 14C +  p
  3. There are three principal isotopes of carbon which occur naturally – C12, C13 (both stable) and C14 (unstable or radioactive). These isotopes are present in the following amounts C12 – 98.89%, C13 – 1.11% and C14 – 0.00000000010%. Thus, one carbon 14 atom exists in nature for every 1,000,000,000,000 C12 atoms in living material.
  4. The 14C formed is rapidly oxidised to 14CO2 and enters the earth’s plant and animal lifeways through photosynthesis and the food chain.
  5. Plants and animals which utilise carbon in biological foodchains take up 14C during their lifetimes.
  6. They exist in equilibrium with the C14 concentration of the atmosphere, that is, the numbers of C14 atoms and non-radioactive carbon atoms stays approximately the same over time.
  7. As soon as a plant or animal dies, they cease the metabolic function of carbon uptake; there is no replenishment of radioactive carbon, only decay. 14C => 14N + b
  8. It follows from this that any material which is composed of carbon may be dated.
  9. Half the C14 in the original sample will have decayed in 5730±40 years. This is known as the Cambridge half-life.
  10. The radiocarbon dating method remains arguably the most dependable and widely applied dating technique for the late Pleistocene and Holocene periods.
  11. After 10 half-lives, there is a very small amount of radioactive carbon present in a sample. At about 50 – 60 000 years, then, the limit of the technique is reached (beyond this time, other radiometric techniques must be used for dating).

Included below is an impressive list of some of the types of carbonaceous samples that have been commonly radiocarbon dated in the years since the inception of the method:

There is a List  of Archeological Applications here but nothing related to India that I could find:

I’ll keep searching! And update this when I find it.