What is carbon-14?

Carbon 14 is what a living thing gives off. It helps archaeologists tell how long ago something died (the less carbon 14, the longer ago it died).

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Carbon-14 is a specific isotope of the element carbon. It "decays" to another isotope of carbon. Decay begins when the living thing (like a tree) dies. By measuring the percentage of C-14 to regular carbon, they can determine ABOUT how long the item has been dead. Not a precise measurement, it is in hundreds or thousands of years.