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It turned out that an old exhibition catalogue had made its way back to China where forgers had replicated exactly the styles and motifs.
It is somebody's sweaty little footprints right there and all of a sudden, you feel like you're there 2000 years ago."These days Prior rarely gets to hold the objects her team is dating.But that is small fry to art collectors and dealers."There are people in the world that are so wealthy that they have these collections of antiquities [Prior's voice breaks into a high-pitched squeak] in their living room."Prior remembers a run of angry customers when a bunch of beautifully embroidered Chinese textiles from the warring states period (about 475-221BC) were exposed as modern.[...] What is really great for antiquities is if we find bomb carbon 14 – excessive levels of C14 in what is supposed to be antique – we know with absolute certainty that that thing was made from materials that were growing after 1950."There is serious money at stake here.It costs at least 0 to have a sample dated, 00 if you want a result within three weeks.The conservator, however, was not angry at the result.
As the Arctic ice sheets melt, the Siberian tundra is being exposed, together with preserved mammoth tusks, which are then carved and sold as ivory antiques.It uses the presence of radioactive carbon 14 in living things to deduce the age of old objects.When something is alive, its ratio of C14 to the two stable forms of carbon, C12 and C13 is in harmony with its environment.At university she took some anthropology classes to find out what those ruins were really all about.Then she got hooked."There was this little sandal that was excavated out of a rock shelter in California.The way scientists achieve that is by radiocarbon dating things they know the age of – trees.