Nyerup's words illustrate poignantly the critical power and importance of dating; to order time.
Radiocarbon dating has been one of the most significant discoveries in 20th century science.
method is based upon the decay of radioactive potassium-40 to radioactive argon-40 in minerals and rocks; potassium-40 also decays to calcium-40.
Thus, the ratio of argon-40 and potassium-40 and radiogenic calcium-40 to potassium-40 in a mineral or rock is a measure of the age of the sample.
The calcium-potassium age method is seldom used, however, because of the great abundance of nonradiogenic calcium in minerals or rocks, which masks the presence of radiogenic calcium.
On the other hand, the abundance of argon in the is relatively small because of its escape to the atmosphere during processes associated with volcanism.
Renfrew (1973) called it 'the radiocarbon revolution' in describing its impact upon the human sciences.
Oakley (1979) suggested its development meant an almost complete re-writing of the evolution and cultural emergence of the human species.
Libby of the University of Chicago in immediate post-WW2 years.Tree rings, which record the amount of atmospheric carbon in their rings, are used to calibrate radiocarbon dates. However, a major disadvantage with using BP is--the present year, of course, changes every twelve months.Scholars use the science of dendrochronology, which measures annular rings and matches them to known carbon fluctuations. Since the BP designation was originally associated with radiocarbon dating, archaeologists chose the year 1950 as a reference point for 'the present'. Wiens has a Ph D in Physics, with a minor in Geology.His Ph D thesis was on isotope ratios in meteorites, including surface exposure dating."Everything which has come down to us from heathendom is wrapped in a thick fog; it belongs to a space of time we cannot measure.