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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.

Luckily, we can measure these fluctuations in samples that are dated by other methods.

Tree rings can be counted and their radiocarbon content measured.

Charcoal or wood could have been seasoned prior to the actual use of the timber that provided the sample that has been radiocarbon dated.

Hardwoods that are very resilient against decay could have been reused in other structures in later years.

Thus, the radiocarbon age of a single tree’s heartwood and sapwood will not be the same with the innermost heartwood being significantly older than the sapwood.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.Fragments of charcoal, however, may have a time width that can’t be quantified.One of the main assumptions of radiocarbon dating is that the organism’s time of death is also the time it ceased carbon exchange with the biosphere.

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