However, within just 35 years, Graven predicts a robe worn while an anonymous writer penned Beowulf would be indistinguishable in age from a T-shirt worn last weekend by a guy watching football."If we reduced fossil fuel emissions, it would be good news for radiocarbon dating," Graven said.
Fossil fuel emissions could soon start to cause headaches for archaeologists and paleontologists using radiocarbon dating to study artifacts.
New research suggests the release of carbon-based gases into the atmosphere by vehicles and factories could alter radiocarbon measurements of ancient material.
Carbon first began to dilute the marker material at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, researchers state.
Concentrations climbed once again during the 1950s and '60s as nuclear tests released the radioactive atoms into the environment.
"If we did any current measurements on new products, they will end up having the same fraction of radiocarbon to total carbon as something look like they have the same age for radiocarbon dating," Heather Graven of Imperial College London, lead author of an article detailing the study, said.This is not the first time in modern history in which human activities are altering levels of carbon-14 in relics.