In addition to permitting more accurate dating within archaeological sites than previous methods, it allows comparison of dates of events across great distances.
Histories of archaeology often refer to its impact as the "radiocarbon revolution".
This procedure of radiocarbon dating has been widely adopted and is considered accurate enough for practical use to study remains up to 50,000 years old.
The method was developed by Willard Libby in the late 1940s and soon became a standard tool for archaeologists.
have revealed that the remains recovered - three leg bones and an arm bone from the left side of the body and fragments of skull and jaw with four teeth - belonged to a man believed to have been aged 30 to 40 whose maximum height would have been 5ft 5in.