All living things maintain a content of carbon 14 in equilibrium with that available in the atmosphere, right up to the moment of death.When an organism dies, the amount of C14 available within it begins to decay at a half life rate of 5730 years; i.e., it takes 5730 years for 1/2 of the C14 available in the organism to decay.Comparing the amount of C14 in a dead organism to available levels in the atmosphere, produces an estimate of when that organism died.

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The procedure of radiocarbon dating can be used for remains that are up to 50,000 years old.

Archaeological Survey of India has once again started excavations at the Protected Site of Sarnath from 19th February, 2014 after a gap of over 80 years with the main objective of collecting samples for dating in the labs through from the earliest levels of the site to find out if there are remains of pre-Mauryan era available at the site as the site in the past has yielded remains of the time of King Asoka but Buddha had come to the site more than 200 years before Asoka and stayed there for some time and a well established monastic system existed afterwards which is also mentioned in the pillar edict of Asoka from the site.

Kris Hirst Definition: Radiocarbon dating uses the amount of Carbon 14 (C14) available in living creatures as a measuring stick.

Carbon 14 is continually being created in the Earth's atmosphere by the interaction of nitrogen and gamma rays from outer space.

Since atmospheric carbon 14 arises at about the same rate that the atom decays, the Earth's levels of carbon 14 have remained constant.

In living organisms, which are always taking in carbon, the levels of carbon 14 likewise stay constant.But in a dead organism, no new carbon is coming in, and its carbon 14 gradually begins to decay.A form of radiometric dating used to determine the age of organic remains in ancient objects, such as archaeological specimens, on the basis of the half-life of carbon-14 and a comparison between the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 in a sample of the remains to the known ratio in living organisms. A technique for measuring the age of organic remains based on the rate of decay of carbon 14.The carbon 14 present in an organism at the time of its death decays at a steady rate, and so the age of the remains can be calculated from the amount of carbon 14 that is left. The cells of all living things contain carbon atoms that they take in from their environment.Back in the 1940s, the American chemist Willard Libby used this fact to determine the ages of organisms long dead.Most carbon atoms have six protons and six neutrons in their nuclei and are called carbon 12. But a tiny percentage of carbon is made of carbon 14, or radiocarbon, which has six protons and eight neutrons and is not stable: half of any sample of it decays into other atoms after 5,700 years.