Radiocarbon dating pictures
Working with several collaboraters, Libby established the natural occurrence of radiocarbon by detecting its radioactivity in methane from the Baltimore sewer.
They thought that sites which had the same kinds of pots and tools would be the same age.
This means that things like stone, metal and pottery cannot usually be directly dated by this means unless there is some organic material embedded or left as a residue.
As explained below, the radiocarbon date tells us when the organism was alive (not when the material was used).
Some scientists prefer the terms chronometric or calendar dating, as use of the word "absolute" implies an unwarranted certainty of accuracy.
Absolute dating provides a numerical age or range in contrast with relative dating which places events in order without any measure of the age between events.