Carbon dating process
Along with hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulfur, carbon is a building block of biochemical molecules ranging from fats, proteins, and carbohydrates to active substances such as hormones.All carbon atoms have a nucleus containing six protons.As a member, you'll also get unlimited access to over 55,000 lessons in math, English, science, history, and more.
Each radioactive isotope decays by a fixed amount, and this amount is called the half-life.
The dating process is always designed to try to extract the carbon from a sample which is most representative of the original organism.
In general it is always better to date a properly identified single entity (such as a cereal grain or an identified bone) rather than a mixture of unidentified organic remains.
For radiocarbon dating to be possible, the material must once have been part of a living organism.
This means that things like stone, metal and pottery cannot usually be directly dated by this means unless there is some organic material embedded or left as a residue.
However, once the organism dies, the amount of carbon-14 steadily decreases.