Articles on radiocarbon dating
When both of the detectors present pick up the flash, it is counted and used to calculate the amount of carbon-14 present.
AMS has become the standard in the industry for measuring carbon-14 content and offers several advantages over radiometric techniques.
Radiometric dating involves quantifying the amount of carbon-14 present by measuring the emitted beta particles from its radioactive decay.
Gas proportional counting involves converting samples to CO gas followed by detection and counting of the beta particles.
Carbon has an atomic number of 6, an atomic weight of 12.011, and has three isotopes: carbon-12, carbon-13, and carbon-14.
It can theoretically be used to date anything that was alive any time during the last 60,000 years or so, including charcoal from ancient fires, wood used in construction or tools, cloth, bones, seeds, and leather.
(Since humans have only existed in the Americas for approximately 12,000 years, this is not a serious limitation to southwest archaeology.) Radiocarbon dating is also susceptible to contamination.