Carbon dating

Carbon dating

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Credit: PASQUALE SORRENTINO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Carbon dating of Roman scrolls. This involves measuring the proportion of the carbon-14 isotope in the sample. The carbon is extracted, forming carbon dioxide. This is condensed using liquid nitrogen, and the proportions of isotopes measured. The samples being dated are ancient papyrus scrolls excavated from the ancient Roman town of Herculaneum, Italy. Researchers in the Office of Papyri in Italy's National Library, Naples are working to date, decipher and preserve them.

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