This provides good information, but it only indicates how long ago that piece of wood was cut from a living tree.Radiocarbon dating can’t tell the difference between wood that was cut and immediately used for the spear, and wood that was cut years before being re-used for that purpose.Most concerning, though, is when the carbon dating directly opposes or contradicts other estimates.At this point, the carbon dating data is simply disregarded.By testing the amount of carbon stored in an object, and comparing to the original amount of carbon Unfortunately, the believed amount of carbon present at the time of expiration is exactly that: a belief, an assumption, an estimate.It is very difficult for scientists to know how much carbon would have originally been present; one of the ways in which they have tried to overcome this difficulty was through using carbon equilibrium.
They attempted to account for this by setting 1950 as a standard year for the ratio of C-12 to C-14, and measuring subsequent findings against that. Other times, the findings will differ slightly, at which point scientists apply so-called ‘correction tables’ to amend the results and eliminate discrepancies.
All living things absorb both types of carbon; but once it dies, it will stop absorbing.
The C-12 is a very stable element and will not change form after being absorbed; however, C-14 is highly unstable and in fact will immediately begin changing after absorption.
However, a little more knowledge about the exact ins and outs of carbon dating reveals that perhaps it is not quite as fool-proof a process as we may have been led to believe.
At its most basic level, carbon dating is the method of determining the age of organic material by measuring the levels of carbon found in it.