Radiocarbon dating can be used to directly date
So even brand-new samples contain incredibly tiny quantities of radiocarbon.Eventually, the amount of carbon-14 remaining is so small that it’s all but undetectable.For example, a steel spearhead cannot be carbon dated, so archaeologists might perform testing on the wooden shaft it was attached to.This provides good information, but it only indicates how long ago that piece of wood was cut from a living tree.Carbon dating is reliable within certain parameters but certainly not infallible.When testing an object using radiocarbon dating, several factors have to be considered: First, carbon dating only works on matter that was once alive, and it only determines the approximate date of death for that sample.Question: "Is carbon dating a reliable method for determining the age of things?
For this reason, it’s preferable to date objects using multiple methods, rather than relying on one single test.
Most archaeological items can’t be directly carbon dated, so their dating is based on testing done on nearby objects or materials.
This makes the results subject to the researchers’ assumptions about those objects.
Likewise, different living things absorb or reject carbon-14 at different rates.
Two plants that died at the same moment, but which naturally contained different levels of radiocarbon, could be dated to drastically different times.