Carbon dating not real
A huge development in the story of humans is ‘modern’ behaviour, or acting like a human as opposed to acting like a two-legged ape – but it’s hard to date.
For example, it’s difficult to say exactly when people started to think abstract thoughts or speak to communicate.
But when you start looking at when humans behave like humans, it seems that this doesn’t match up with the date.’Although the earliest cave art falls within the timescale of radiocarbon dating, it can’t be used for the paintings that Pike’s team were interested in.
‘Most archaeologists would turn to radiocarbon dating …
The first excavations in the 1950s and 1960s revealed a hub of ancient human activity, spanning thousands of years’ worth of artefacts.
Unfortunately much of it originates from outside radiocarbon dating’s timescale. was almost non-existent,’ says Geoff Duller, a geochronologist from the University of Aberystwyth in Wales.
But because the stencil date is a minimum age, there’s a chance the Neanderthals could have been the artists.
A portion of the carbon is the radioactive isotope carbon-14.
At death, the exchange stops, and the carbon-14 then decays with a known half-life, which enables scientists to calculate the time of death.
‘Dating is absolutely crucial, it underpins everything,’ says Michael Walker.
Based at the University of Wales Trinity St David, he has devoted his career to studying the Quaternary period – the last 2.6 million years and the so-called ‘age of humans’.