Northern Ireland

Prof Paula Reimer helps develop carbon dating breakthrough

Professor Paula Reimer
Image caption Prof Paula Reimer said the project built on research begun in the 1980s at Queen's

A scientist from Queen's University Belfast has helped develop a new method for accurately dating historical items.

Prof Paula Reimer, along with two professors from the University of Sheffield, has developed a new carbon dating calibration curve.

It will provide improved accuracy to archaeologists, environmental scientists and climate researchers who rely on carbon dating.

The research has been published in the international journal Radiocarbon.

The researchers say the release of the new curve will mean that more precise date estimates can be obtained than previously possible.

It will also reduce uncertainty about the timing of major events in the history and development of humans, plants and animals and the environments in which they lived, they say.

Prof Reimer said: "This project built on research begun in the 1980s at Queen's and elsewhere, and is essential for the continued utility and development of carbon dating."

Prof Caitlin Buck from the University of Sheffield, said: "We are proud to have developed such an important tool for archaeologists and environmental scientists, allowing them to more accurately date their findings and reduce uncertainty about the timings of major events.

"We're also grateful to the more than 30 other scientists who have shared data and research ideas with us to make it all possible."

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