Is carbon dating advisable for measuring the age of


This new counting system combined with the pre-existing counters has improved significantly the precision of the radiocarbon dates obtained as well as the speed with which results are produced and delivered.Figure 2: The multi-counter system consisting of 6 gas proportional counters used for the C-14 measurement of archaeological and environmental samples. ) Interior, 2 big and 4 smaller counters together with the surrounding cylindrical guard counter are shown.Also, as a big tree may live for a long time (100-200 years), if one determines the age of a wooden or charcoal sample originating from the inner rings of such a tree, the calculated age may be 100-200 years older than the date the timber was cut even if it was used for the first time.The event dated in the laboratory is the date of creation and growth of the plant, tree or animal and not the date that it was used as an object.The most important question, which should be put each time a sample is collected for dating, is whether this particular sample is directly related with the historical event or occupation layer whose age is under question.For example, the radiocarbon age of a wood sample from a post, no matter how precise the dating will be in the laboratory, will not be directly related to the specific layer if the post was re-used.The measurement precision depends not only on the initial amount of sample available and the age of the sample but also on the shape of the calibration curve at the time period to which the sample belongs.


The laboratory possesses 8 such counters, four with a capacity of 4 litres and four with 3 litres.

100-200 years older than the date the timber was cut even if it was used for the first time.


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