The ratio of radiocarbon to stable carbon atoms in the atmosphere has varied in the past.This is because the amount and strength of cosmic radiation entering the earth's atmosphere has varied over time.In a stratigraphical context objects closer to the surface are more recent in time relative to items deeper in the ground.Although relative dating can work well in certain areas, several problems arise.Atoms of the same element that have different numbers of neutrons are called isotopes. Most carbon on Earth exists as the very stable isotope carbon-12, with a very small amount as carbon-13.
To understand radiocarbon dating, you first have to understand the word Although an element’s number of protons cannot change, the number of neutrons can vary slightly from each atom.The Greeks consider the first Olympic Games as the beginning or 776 BC.The Muslims count the Prophet’s departure from Mecca, or the Hegira, as their beginning at AD 662.The following article is primarily based on a discussion of radiocarbon dating found in The Biblical Chronologist Volume 5, Number 1. Radiocarbon dating is based on a few relatively simple principles. The vast majority of these are C (pronounced "c twelve"), the stable isotope of carbon.However, cosmic radiation constantly collides with atoms in the upper atmosphere.This tendency to decay, called radioactivity, is what gives radiocarbon the name radiocarbon.