A major development in radiocarbon dating has been made by scientists at Queen’s University who have produced a new archaeological tool dubbed “the time machine”. “The new calibration curve, which extends back 50,000 years, is a major landmark in radiocarbon dating — the method used by archaeologists and geoscientists to establish the age of carbon-based materials. It could help research issues including the effect of climate change on human adaption and migrations. The curve called INTCAL09, has just been published in the journal Radiocarbon. It not only extends radiocarbon calibration but also considerably improves earlier parts of the curve. Dr Ron Reimer of the Queen’s School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology said: ‘The new radiocarbon calibration curve will be used worldwide by archaeologists and earth scientists to convert radiocarbon ages into a meaningful time scale comparable to historical dates or other estimates of calendar age.’”
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