Radiocarbon dating is used to
In Nyerup's time, archaeologists could date the past only by using recorded histories, which in Europe were based mainly on the Egyptian calendar.
Welcome to the K12 section of the Radiocarbon WEBinfo site.The temporal bone discovered in the 1960s from the Darra-i-Kur cave in Afghanistan is often cited as one of the very few Pleistocene human fossils from Central Asia.Here we report the first direct radiocarbon date for the specimen and the genetic analyses of DNA extracted and sequenced from two areas of the bone.The Alhart beans were recovered from a rectangular underground storage pit.The pit housed two bark barrels full of beans surrounded by corn cobs and contained a wooden ladle sitting on top of one of the barrels of beans – how cool!The person who wrote these words lived in the 1800s, many years before archaeologists could accurately date materials from archaeological sites using scientific methods.
Rasmus Nyerup's quote reminds us of the tremendous scientific advances which have taken place in the 20th century.
The petrous part yielded more endogenous ancient DNA molecules than the squamous part of the same bone.
Molecular dating of the Darra-i-Kur mitochondrial DNA sequence corroborates the radiocarbon date and suggests that the specimen is younger than previously thought.
The new radiocarbon determination places the find to ∼4500 cal BP (∼2500 BCE) contradicting an assumed Palaeolithic age of ∼30,000 years, as originally suggested.
The DNA retrieved from the specimen originates from a male individual who carried mitochondrial DNA of the modern human type.
The archaeologist Colin Renfrew (1973) called it the development of this dating method 'the radiocarbon revolution' in describing its great impact upon the human sciences.