Radiocarbon dating is one of the best known archaeological dating techniques available to scientists, and the many people in the general public have at least heard of it.But there are many misconceptions about how radiocarbon works and how reliable a technique it is.
We should see some interesting results in the very near future.
An age could be estimated by measuring the amount of carbon-14 present in the sample and comparing this against an internationally used reference standard.
The half-life of an isotope like C14 is the time it takes for half of it to decay away: in C14, every 5,730 years, half of it is gone.
So, if you measure the amount of C14 in a dead organism, you can figure out how long ago it stopped exchanging carbon with its atmosphere.
So, in other words, we have a pretty solid way to calibrate raw radiocarbon dates for the most recent 12,594 years of our planet's past.