Nitrogen isotope dating
Carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of bone collagen can aid understanding of the roles that marine and terrestrial resources and wild and cultivated plants played in ancient diets.
And can help reveal dietary differences in population sub-groups based on gender, social status and age.
To measure the amount of radiocarbon left in a artifact, scientists burn a small piece to convert it into carbon dioxide gas.
Radiation counters are used to detect the electrons given off by decaying Carbon-14 as it turns into nitrogen.
There are over forty such techniques, each using a different radioactive element or a different way of measuring them.
Stable isotope analysis of archaeological materials, chiefly bone collagen, is commonly used in archaeological investigations of ancient human occupation.
The carbon-14 atoms combine with oxygen to form carbon dioxide, which plants absorb naturally and incorporate into plant fibers by photosynthesis.
Animals and people take in carbon-14 by eating the plants.
Radiocarbon dating is a method of estimating the age of organic material.
It was developed right after World War II by Willard F.