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This process frees electrons within minerals that remain caught within the item.

Heating an item to 500 degrees Celsius or higher releases the trapped electrons, producing light.

Some scientists prefer the terms chronometric or calendar dating, as use of the word "absolute" implies an unwarranted certainty of accuracy.

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Absolute dating is the process of determining an age on a specified chronology in archaeology and geology.

By measuring the carbon-14 in organic material, scientists can determine the date of death of the organic matter in an artifact or ecofact.

The relatively short half-life of carbon-14, 5,730 years, makes the reliable only up to about 50,000 years.

Thermoluminescence testing also dates items to the last time they were heated.

This technique is based on the principle that all objects absorb radiation from the environment.

It is possible, particularly in dry, desert climates, for organic materials such as from dead trees to remain in their natural state for hundreds of years before people use them as firewood or building materials, after which they become part of the archaeological record.

Thus dating that particular tree does not necessarily indicate when the fire burned or the structure was built.

After another 5,730 years only one-quarter of the original carbon-14 will remain.

After yet another 5,730 years only one-eighth will be left.

Comments Absolute dating notes

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