A Better Radiocarbon Clock

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Science  09 Jan 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5655, pp. 178-179
DOI: 10.1126/science.1091964

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Reliable radiocarbon dating is essential in many fields, from geology and archaeology, to geochemistry and paleoclimatology. But because the atmosphericC/C ratio has changed over time, obtaining accurate dating is difficult. In their Perspective, Bard et al. discuss efforts to improve the accuracy of radiocarbon dating presented at a recent conference in New Zealand. Stratigraphic results from ocean sediments off the coast of Venezuela, reported by Hughen et al., were presented at this meeting and are put into context by Bard et al. Taken together, these and other findings give hope that reliable radiocarbon calibration curves will be ready for the next such meeting in 2006.