Radiocarbon dating dates back
This is calculated through careful measurement of the residual activity (per gram C) remaining in a sample whose age is Unknown, compared with the activity present in Modern and Background samples. Thus 1950, is year 0 BP by convention in radiocarbon dating and is deemed to be the 'present'.
The ratio of the activity of sucrose with 0.95 Ox was first measured by Polach at 1.50070.0052 (Polach, 1976b:122).A time-independent level of C14 activity for the past is assumed in the measurement of a CRA.The activity of this hypothetical level of C14 activity is equal to the activity of the absolute international radiocarbon standard. Ninety-five percent of the activity of Oxalic Acid from the year 1950 is equal to the measured activity of the absolute radiocarbon standard which is 1890 wood. This is the International Radiocarbon Dating Standard.The Oxalic acid standard was made from a crop of 1955 sugar beet. The isotopic ratio of HOx I is -19.3 per mille with respect to (wrt) the PBD standard belemnite (Mann, 1983). T designation SRM 4990 C) was made from a crop of 1977 French beet molasses.
The Oxalic acid standard which was developed is no longer commercially available. In the early 1980's, a group of 12 laboratories measured the ratios of the two standards.
Obviously, the limit of the method differs between laboratories dependent upon the extent to which background levels of radioactivity can be reduced.
Amongst accelerator laboratories there has been mooted the theoretical possibility of extended range dating to 75 000 yr +, at present this seems difficult to attain because of the problems in accurately differentiating between ions that mimic the mass and charge characteristics of the C14 atom.
d14C represents the per mille depletion in sample carbon 14 prior to isotopic fractionation correction and is measured by: D14C represents the 'normalized' value of d14C.
'Normalized' means that the activity is scaled in relation to fractionation of the sample, or its delta C13 value.
Beukens (1994) for instance has stated that this means the limit of the range for his Isotrace laboratory is 60 000 yr which is very similar to the conventional range.