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A technique for measuring the age of organic remains based on the rate of decay of carbon 14.Because the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 present in all living organisms is the same, and because the decay rate of carbon 14 is constant, the length of time that has passed since an organism has died can be calculated by comparing the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in its remains to the known ratio in living organisms.The program can be used for calibration of dates using the Int Cal curves or post-bomb data.
The ocean circulates high quantities of ancient carbon deep in the ocean.
Ocean corals, dated by another radiometric method - Uranium-Thorium dating - have also helped to extend the calibration curve beyond the age of the most ancient treering chronologies.
A., Kromer, B., Mc Cormac, G., van der Plicht, J., Spurk, M. INTCAL98 radiocarbon age calibration, 24,000-0 cal BP.
In fact, the natural production of radiocarbon has varied as well.
Before the industrial revolution, from 1800 - 1400 AD, the natural production of radiocarbon was high, so dates are "too young." From 1400 AD to 300 BC they are "too old," and prior to 300 BC , they are too young.