More ways to date a Neanderthal?


This is use­ful inform­a­tion for archae­olo­gists. Carbon Dating would be fant­astic if the pro­duc­tion of Carbon-13 were con­stant. It’s not. This means that archae­olo­gists need samples of known date to cal­ib­rate their car­bon dates. That’s pos­sible when you have things like a his­tor­ical record to match mater­ial against, but not so easy when you have no con­scious record­ing of a date.

The usual answer has been to use trees. You can date tree samples from the pat­tern of yearly growth. The pat­tern of thick and thin growth rings acts a bit like a fin­ger­print for earlier peri­ods which means you know the date of a sample to a year. You then car­bon date the sample to cal­ib­rate your car­bon dates. The prob­lem is tree-ring data only goes back to the latest parts of of the Upper Palaeolithic.

This new data could push dat­ing back as far as the Middle Palaeolithic and allow the dat­ing of later Neanderthal material.


Reshared post from +Kristina Killgrove

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Carbon Dating Gets a Reset: Scientific American
Climate records from a Japanese lake are provid­ing a more accur­ate timeline for dat­ing objects as far back as 50,000 years

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