Just like the site of the underwater cypress forest off the Alabama coast not being published, precise locations must be kept secret in many countries because of the fear of looting or just plain destruction of the site by some people.Added to this, some metadata, including the context of the find or the exact method of testing can be difficult to standardize. It’s not just a number,” says Tom Higham, deputy director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit in the United Kingdom.His big concern is jamming all the data about one site into a single database.

cons of carbon 14 dating-1

It counts all the Carbon-14 atoms in the sample and not just the few that happen to decay during the measurements. Richard "Dick" Morlan of the Canadian Museum of History (formerly the Canadian Museum of Civilization).

CARD was set up in 1980 and currently holds 70,000 radiocarbon records from 70 countries.

He says a global database would have all this information with each carbon date so that if a data point needs to be recalculated, it can be done.

And another point in favor of a global database is the ease that would come from finding previously published radiocarbon data.

Part of CARD's expansion efforts is to make the software behind the site open source, allowing research groups to set up their own version of CARD while still contributing core information to the main database.

In this instance, the first such site is expected to come online within the next year, reports Nature.

When radiocarbon dating was first introduced, measurements were originally done by beta-counting devices, which counted the amount of beta radiation emitted by decaying Carbon-14 atoms in a sample.

Now, we have accelerator mass spectrometry, and it has become the method of choice.

For an explanation of why this series is happening and how Musk is involved, start with Part 1.