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Dating the Amesbury Archer was an important part of the overall archaeological research programme.Samples of bone from both the Archer and his companion were AMS radiocarbon dated at the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, University of Oxford.This is achieved in the laboratory using an electric drill.Before drilling the exterior of the bone is carefully cleaned and then about 500 milligrams is drilled.The small pieces of bone were combusted to produce carbon dioxide which was then put through a mass spectrometer.Testing two pieces each at two different facilities should provide consistent results – and indeed it did. The proportion of C-14 in the atmosphere, and hence in living things, is not constant but varies over the centuries, and it also varies between the atmosphere and the oceans.How old are the bones found under the Greyfriars church?

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The four fundamental assumptions in the conventional radiocarbon dating method are that: C uptake ceases and only radioactive decay (which follows first order kinetics) then occurs.The most important archaeological dating method is radiocarbon dating.It is a technique that can yield absolute dates with accuracy up to approximately 5000 years before present.The stable C12 and C13, and the unstable or radioactive Carbon 14. Only one C14 atom exists for every one trillion C12 atoms.Nitrogen atoms in the upper atmosphere are struck by cosmic radiation and create C14 atoms.

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