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Long tree-ring sequences have been developed throughout the world and can be used to check and calibrate radiocarbon dates. An extensive tree-ring sequence from the present to 6700 BC was developed in Arizona using California bristlecone pine (), some of which are 4900 years old, making them the oldest living things on earth. When it comes to dating archaeological samples, several timescale problems arise.For example, Christian time counts the birth of Christ as the beginning, AD 1 (Anno Domini); everything that occurred before Christ is counted backwards from AD as BC (Before Christ).The Greeks consider the first Olympic Games as the beginning or 776 BC.
More recently is the radiocarbon date of 1950 AD or before present, BP.
How It Works: Carbon has 3 isotopic forms: Carbon-12, Carbon-13, and Carbon-14.
The numbers refer to the atomic weight, so Carbon-12 has 6 protons and 6 neutrons, Carbon-13 has 6 protons and 7 neutrons, and Carbon-14 has 6 protons and 8 neutrons.
Rodents, for example, can create havoc in a site by moving items from one context to another.
Natural disasters like floods can sweep away top layers of sites to other locations.
As long as there is organic material present, radiocarbon dating is a universal dating technique that can be applied anywhere in the world.