With all the technical terms and mathematical physics equations taken out, carbon dating sounds pretty easy right?Wrong: it involves a complex process of collecting a useful sample, dating it properly, and calibrating the scientific dates to ones recognizable in the outside world.

This date can then be calibrated with dendrochronology, sediment cores, and/or other dating methods to ensure maximum accuracy and account for discrepancies in the amount of carbon fourteen in the atmosphere over the past few centuries. Regardless of these issues, carbon dating is still one of the most effective tools in the archaeologist’s kit.

The newly calibrated result is then given as a more absolute B. which can be correlated to whichever calendar system necessary (though is most often calibrated to the Gregorian B. It has provided illumination where none was once thought possible.

Chances are, right now, you have a Gregorian calendar stuck to your wall.

This calendar, with the months January through December, is a business standard used in many places round the world to define the year: one which hearkens back to Christian and Roman Imperial precedents.

For periods without a historic record, attempts have been made to categorize tool kits, pottery styles, and architectural forms into regional timelines.

Some ill-fated attempts to define time even attempted to count backwards through the genealogies of the Bible, establishing a series of dates which remain a cause of confusion.

But radiocarbon dating tries its best; and can often serve as a base for additional scientific techniques which can clarify results further.

It is a vital part in the investigation and preservation of our past and a lovely bit of analysis to compliment digital records of monuments.

The historians of one hundred years ago could only dream of such a wonderful, albeit frightening atomic clock ticking away, helping to mark the passing of the years and the ages of man.