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Ninety-nine percent of these also contain six neutrons.

The 6 proton 6 neutron atoms are said to have a mass of 12 and are referred to as "carbon-12." The nuclei of the remaining one percent of carbon atoms contain not six but either seven or eight neutrons in addition to the standard six protons.

It decays with a half life of 5700 years into nitrogen 14 and electron and an electron antineutreno. So for that reason, every living thing that is interacting with its environment is expected to have this natural abundance of carbon 14. But when something dies, now it's not interacting with the environment anymore. We know that the amount at time t is equal to the initial amount times one half to the time over the half life, alright?

So we'll say alright, the amount at 10,000 is equal to the initial amount that I started with 1.3 times 10 to the -12 times a half to the 10,000 divided by 5700. And when you do so, you'll end up with 0.385 times 10 to the -12. Unless something was obviously attributable to a specific year -- say a dated coin or known piece of artwork -- then whoever discovered it had to do quite a bit of guesstimating to get a proper age for the item.The excavator might employ relative dating, using objects located stratigraphically (read: buried at the same depth) close to each other, or he or she might compare historical styles to see if there were similarities to a previous find.For example, if an object touches some organic material (like, say, your hand), it can test younger than it really is.Also, the larger the sample the better, although new techniques mean smaller samples can sometimes be tested more effectively.

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