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A common misconception about radiocarbon dating is that it gives a precise date---3577 B. In actual practice radiocarbon dating can only give a range of dates for a given sample---3650 to 3410 B.C., for example---the true date lying somewhere in that range.It is possible then to calculate the date of an organic object by measuring the amount of C14 left in the sample.Because the concentration of radiocarbon in the atmosphere has varied considerably over time, radiocarbon dates as far back as 7,000 years may be corrected by calibrating them against accurate dates from radiocarbon-dated tree rings and developing a master correction curve.The precision of a radiocarbon date tells how narrow the range of dates is.There are two main factors which determine the precision of a radiocarbon date.This, in fact, is the most significant factor contributing to loss of precision in radiocarbon dates today.
Radiocarbon dating is a widely applied absolute dating method in archeology.
It is based on the knowledge that living organisms build up their own organic matter by photosynthesis or by using atmospheric carbon dioxide.