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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.If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.
Now the curve extends (tentatively) to 50,000 years.
In the 19th and early 20th century incredibly patient and careful archaeologists would link pottery and stone tools in different geographical areas by similarities in shape and patterning.
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.
This method requires less than 1g of bone, but few countries can afford more than one or two AMSs, which cost more than A0,000.
Australia has two machines dedicated to radiocarbon analysis, and they are out of reach for much of the developing world.
These new techniques can have a dramatic effect on chronologies.