Renfrew (1973) called it 'the radiocarbon revolution' in describing its impact upon the human sciences.
The radiocarbon method was developed by a team of scientists led by the late Professor Willard F.
Libby of the University of Chicago in immediate post-WW2 years.
Libby later received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1960: (From Taylor, 1987).
Carbon-14 dating can be used on objects ranging from a few hundred years old to 50,000 years old.
Libby and others (University of Chicago) devised a method of estimating the age of organic material based on the decay rate of carbon-14.
Desmond Clark (1979) wrote that were it not for radiocarbon dating, "we would still be foundering in a sea of imprecisions sometime bred of inspired guesswork but more often of imaginative speculation" (Clark, 1979:7).
Writing of the European Upper Palaeolithic, Movius (1960) concluded that "time alone is the lens that can throw it into focus".
"Everything which has come down to us from heathendom is wrapped in a thick fog; it belongs to a space of time we cannot measure.
We know that it is older than Christendom, but whether by a couple of years or a couple of centuries, or even by more than a millenium, we can do no more than guess." [Rasmus Nyerup, (Danish antiquarian), 1802 (in Trigger, 19)].