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Historical artefacts like moa bones can be dated using a technique that measures the activity of the radioisotope carbon-14 still present in the sample.By comparing this with a modern standard, an estimate of the calendar age of the artefact can be made.The new method is based on the fact that over the past 60 years, environmental levels of radiocarbon have been significantly perturbed by mid-20th-century episodes of above-ground nuclear weapons testing.Before the nuclear age, the amount of radiocarbon in the environment varied little in the span of a century.

C dating consists of measuring the amounts of carbon-14 and carbon-12, and sometimes C-13, in a sample.Carbon-14 dating cannot be applied to materials that have no C dates are less than that figure.It is sometimes thought possible to extend the dating range a few half-lives, so one occasionally sees dates as old as 70,000 years or more.To send samples to Keck-CCAMS at the UC Irvine for analysis, the following steps are required: Submitters, and in particular those making their first application, must make contact with the laboratory to discuss their requirements prior to actually submitting samples. A submission form plus a sample list provided must be filled out (see guidance document) for each group of samples submitted and sent to us via mail, fax or e-mail.A hard copy of both must also accompany the samples. laboratory is currently equipped to handle routine processing of charcoal, wood, seed, carbonates, animal remains, etc.Carbon-14 dates usually appear to be reasonably accurate whenever they can be checked against historical records.

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