When an organism dies, be it a plant or an animal, the carbon acquired during its lifetime begins to decay at a steady, predictable rate, releasing carbon-14, a radioactive isotope with a half-life of 5,730 years.By measuring the amount of carbon-14 left in the organism, scientists can estimate how long ago the organism died. In recent years, scientists have refined methods for radiocarbon dating.
A calibrated radiocarbon date is one that has been calibrated to the tree-ring record to adjust for variations in the concentration of atmospheric C-14 over time.
Calibrated C-14 dates correspond to true calendar years; standard C-14 dates do not.
In the scientific literature, calibrated dates are usually reported as cal A.
A senior lecturer at the University of the West Indies History Department, Dr. Reid and his students have found more evidence of people who lived in Trinidad 7,000 years ago. Reid’s team found a large stone pestle, crab claws, oysters, nerite shells, bird and mammal bones, a sandstone adze which is used for smoothing rough wood, quartz and flint stone flakes, and red ochre.
Reid has found several sites of archaeological importance and has documented his researches in a book called . The shell samples from the site were dated at Beta Analytic’s lab in Miami, Florida.
Radiocarbon dating results suggest that the site is indeed ancient.
Every living thing on earth contains the element carbon.
Banwari Trace in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is recorded as one of the oldest pre-Columbian sites in the West Indies.
Located in southwestern Trinidad, this is where the remains of the oldest islander, the Banwari Man, were discovered in 1969.
Banwari Trace not only yielded an important icon of antiquity, it has also revealed the migration patterns of pre-ceramic peoples from mainland South America to the Lesser Antilles via Trinidad.
Proof of the earliest settlers in the Caribbean is not solely found in Banwari Trace. Basil Reid has unearthed ancient artifacts in an area about five kilometers away from Banwari Trace.