The method was developed by Willard Libby in the late 1940s and soon became a standard tool for archaeologists.Libby received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in 1960.Welcome to the K12 section of the Radiocarbon WEBinfo site.
Different methods of radiometric dating vary in the timescale over which they are accurate and the materials to which they can be applied.
Radiometric dating or radioactive dating is a technique used to date materials such as rocks or carbon, in which trace radioactive impurities were selectively incorporated when they were formed.
The method compares the abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope within the material to the abundance of its decay products, which form at a known constant rate of decay.
Rasmus Nyerup's quote reminds us of the tremendous scientific advances which have taken place in the 20th century.
In Nyerup's time, archaeologists could date the past only by using recorded histories, which in Europe were based mainly on the Egyptian calendar.