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Carbon-14 moves up the food chain as animals eat plants and as predators eat other animals. It takes 5,730 years for half the carbon-14 to change to nitrogen; this is the half-life of carbon-14.After another 5,730 years only one-quarter of the original carbon-14 will remain.The half-life of potassium-40 is 1.3 billion years, far longer than that of carbon-14, allowing much older samples to be dated.

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The date measured reveals the last time that the object was heated past the closure temperature at which the trapped argon can escape the lattice.Absolute dating is the process of determining an age on a specified chronology in archaeology and geology.Some scientists prefer the terms chronometric or calendar dating, as use of the word "absolute" implies an unwarranted certainty of accuracy.It cannot be used to accurately date a site on its own.However, it can be used to confirm the antiquity of an item.

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