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Asked by Audrey

Why can't the C-14 method be used to confirm the age of a silver goblet from the 1500s?

Short answer: Because the goblet contains no Carbon. Explanation: c-14 dating works by measuring the proportion of c-14 atoms in (usually) something that was once living i.e. bones or wood. The higher the proportion of c-14 (a product of the radioactive decay of c-12) the older the item. Because of the nature of radioactive decay, carbon dating larger collections of carbon atoms is more accurate. Even if there was a tiny bit of organic matter (carbon) in/on the goblet, the technique would be far from accurate.

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Edward Sharp
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