As explained below, the radiocarbon date tells us when the organism was alive (not when the material was used).
This fact should always be remembered when using radiocarbon dates.
Common materials for radiocarbon dating are: The radiocarbon formed in the upper atmosphere is mostly in the form of carbon dioxide. Because the carbon present in a plant comes from the atmosphere in this way, the radio of radiocarbon to stable carbon in the plant is virtually the same as that in the atmosphere.
For every 100 K-40 atoms that decay, 11 become Ar-40.The dating process is always designed to try to extract the carbon from a sample which is most representative of the original organism.In general it is always better to date a properly identified single entity (such as a cereal grain or an identified bone) rather than a mixture of unidentified organic remains.The object's approximate age can then be figured out using the known rate of decay of the isotope.Radiocarbon dating is one kind of radiometric dating, used for determining the age of organic remains that are less than 50,000 years old.For radiocarbon dating to be possible, the material must once have been part of a living organism.