On 07 June 2013 at 15:30

Radiocarbon Dating of ‘old’ and ‘young’—an overview of applications in archaeology and art

Dr. Irka Hajdas

Discoveries of radioactivity and cosmic rays had profound effect on modern science and everyday life of the last 100 years. Among various dating techniques methods developed in early 20th century 14C dating one that is quite popular and crossed interdisciplinary fields.

In 1949 Libby and co-workers have shown that cosmogenic and radioactive isotope of carbon can be used as a radioactive clock. Potential of this method was quickly realized by archeology and climate research. Relatively long half-life of 14C (5730 yrs) allows application back to nearly 50,000 years ago. This range includes most exciting events of climate and modern human history. With an advent of Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) in early 1980 ties new applications were possible. Sample size required for AMS 14C dating (only few milligrams) allows precious objects such as unique statues, paintings and textiles to be analyzed. Following the dating of the Shroud of Turin in 1989, textiles are among many samples that the AMS laboratory at ETH Zurich analyzed.

This lecture will give an overview of the dating method and its applications. Precision of 14C dating will be addressed on examples from various time periods. 




MIM (Musee des Instruments de Musique)


On 07 June 2013 at 15:30

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Dr. Irka Hajdas

After completing a PhD studies at ETH Zürich, Dr. Irka Hajdas continued research at ETH as a Post Doc. Since 2001 is employed as a senior Research Scientist at the Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics, ETH Zurich.

Dr. Irka Hajdas is a radiocarbon dating specialist with a background in nuclear physics (Master Degree in physics, Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland, 1986).