So, we have a “clock” which starts ticking the moment something dies.
Obviously, this works only for things which were once living.
Carbon dating is used to determine the age of biological artifacts up to 50,000 years old.
This provides good information, but it only indicates how long ago that piece of wood was cut from a living tree.
Levels of carbon-14 become difficult to measure and compare after about 50,000 years (between 8 and 9 half lives; where 1% of the original carbon-14 would remain undecayed).
The question should be whether or not carbon-14 can be used to date any artifacts at all? There are a few categories of artifacts that can be dated using carbon-14; however, they cannot be more 50,000 years old.
Dedicated at the University of Chicago on October 10, 2016.
In 1946, Willard Libby proposed an innovative method for dating organic materials by measuring their content of carbon-14, a newly discovered radioactive isotope of carbon.