Inscriptions, distinctive markings, and historical documents can all offer clues to an artifact’s age.
And if the artifact is organic, like wood or bone, researchers can turn to a method called radiocarbon dating.
Besides the body of the Iceman, numerous pieces of equipment of the Iceman and other materials associated with the finding place were recovered (Lippert, 1992; Bagolini et al., 1996).
A small but representative fraction have now been radiocarbon dated at three different AMS laboratories.
The resulting radiocarbon combines with atmospheric oxygen to form radioactive carbon dioxide, which is incorporated into plants by photosynthesis; animals then acquire in a sample from a dead plant or animal such as a piece of wood or a fragment of bone provides information that can be used to calculate when the animal or plant died.
Radiocarbon dating, or simply carbon dating, is a technique that uses the decay of carbon 14 to estimate the age of organic materials.
This method works effectively up to about 58,000 to 62,000 years.
He demonstrated the accuracy of radiocarbon dating by accurately estimating the age of wood from a series of samples for which the age was known, including an ancient Egyptian royal barge of 1850 BCE.
The dating method is based on the fact that carbon is found in various forms, including the main stable isotope (carbon 12) and an unstable isotope (carbon 14).