conventional radiocarbon age

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The laboratory determination of the antiquity of organic materials estimated by radiocarbon dating. The conventional radiocarbon age is the standard way for reporting determinations and should take the form, as a minimum, of an age estimate in years before the present (BP), a standard deviation, and the laboratory code for the sample tested (e.g. 4678 ± 70 BP HAR‐000). It is often useful to indicate what kind of material provided the source sample (e.g. charcoal, wood, bone, or shell). There are a number of assumptions implicit in the citation of a conventional radiocarbon age, for example that the Libby half‐life for 14C of 5568 years was used; that ad 1950 is the reference year zero; that 0.95 NBS oxalic acid provided the modern reference standard; and that radiocarbon years BP are the units used to express the age. See also calibration; corrected age.

Subjects: Archaeology.

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