The radiocarbon method was developed by a team of scientists led by the late Professor Willard F.
Libby of the University of Chicago after the end of World War 2.
It is called 'radio'-carbon, because it is 'radioactive'.
This means that its atomic structure is not stable and there is an uneasy relationship between the particles in the nucleus of the atom itself.
Carbon follows this pathway through the food chain on Earth so that all living things are using carbon, building their bodies until they die.
A tiny part of the carbon on the Earth is called Carbon-14 (C14), or radiocarbon.
The aim here is to provide clear, understandable information relating to radiocarbon dating for the benefit of K12 students, as well as lay people who are not requiring detailed information about the method of radiocarbon dating itself.
The relative dating method worked very well, but only in sites which were had a connection to the relative scale. When radiocarbon dating was developed, it revolutionised archaeology, because it enabled them to more confidently date the past, and to build a more accurate picture of the human past.
The archaeologist Colin Renfrew (1973) called it the development of this dating method 'the radiocarbon revolution' in describing its great impact upon the human sciences.
Because carbon is very common on Earth, there are alot of different types of material which can be dated by scientists.
Below is a list of the different kinds of materials which can be dated: Libby tested the new radiocarbon method on carbon samples from prehistoric Egypt whose age was known.