History, anthropology, and archaeology are three distinct but closely related bodies of knowledge that tell man of his present by virtue of his past.Historians can tell what cultures thrived in different regions and when they disintegrated.
Carbon-14, or radiocarbon, is a naturally occurring radioactive isotope that forms when cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere strike nitrogen molecules, which then oxidize to become carbon dioxide.
Green plants absorb the carbon dioxide, so the population of carbon-14 molecules is continually replenished until the plant dies.
Carbon-14 is also passed onto the animals that eat those plants.
After death the amount of carbon-14 in the organic specimen decreases very regularly as the molecules decay.
Though still heavily used, relative dating is now augmented by several modern dating techniques.
Radiocarbon dating involves determining the age of an ancient fossil or specimen by measuring its carbon-14 content.
Archaeology has undoubtedly enriched mankind’s history like no other science.
There is a greater part of man’s unwritten past that archaeology has managed to unravel.
The carbon-14 it contained at the time of death decays over a long period of time.