Radiocarbon dating before 1950

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Once calibrated a radiocarbon date should be expressed in terms of cal BC, cal AD or cal BP.The cal prefix indicates that the dates are the result of radiocarbon calibration using tree ring data.

The left-hand axis shows radiocarbon concentration expressed in years `before present' and the bottom axis shows calendar years (derived from the tree ring data).For older periods we are able to use other records of with idependent age control to tell us about how radiocarbon changed in the past.The information from measurements on tree rings and other samples of known age (including speleothems, marine corals and samples from sedimentary records with independent dating) are all compiled into calibration curves by the Int Cal group.The results of calibration are often given as an age range.In this case, we might say that we could be 95% sure that the sample comes from between 1375 cal BC and 1129 cal BC.

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