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The sample-context relationship is not always straightforward.Date of a sample pre-dates the context it is found.The unstable and radioactive carbon 14, called radiocarbon, is a naturally occurring isotope of the element carbon.When a living thing dies, it stops interacting with the biosphere, and the carbon 14 in it remains unaffected by the biosphere but will naturally undergo decay.The proportion of carbon 14 in the sample examined provides an indication of the time elapsed since death of the sample’s source.
The process of radiocarbon dating starts with the analysis of the carbon 14 left in a sample.
Calibration is then done to convert BP years into calendar years.
This information is then related to true historical dates.
Before deciding on using carbon dating as an analytical method, an archaeologist must first make sure that the results of radiocarbon dating after calibration can provide the needed answers to the archaeological questions asked.
The implication of what is represented by the carbon 14 activity of a sample must be considered.