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In 2008 we could only calibrate radiocarbon dates until 26,000 years.
Australian National University provides funding as a member of The Conversation AU.From these records a “calibration curve” can be built (see figure 2, below).A huge amount of work is currently underway to extend and improve the calibration curve.The second difficulty arises from the extremely low abundance of C, making it incredibly difficult to measure and extremely sensitive to contamination.In the early years of radiocarbon dating a product’s decay was measured, but this required huge samples (e.g. Many labs now use an Accelerator Mass Spectrometer (AMS), a machine that can detect and measure the presence of different isotopes, to count the individual C atoms in a sample.
The total mass of the isotope is indicated by the numerical superscript.