More organic material from the Carnoustie excavations. Because wood and textiles contain carbon, archaeologists can use radiocarbon dating on samples like these. Radiocarbon dating tracks levels of carbon-14, an isotope or molecular variation of carbon. Because carbon-14 decays in a predictable manner over time, the levels provide a "clock" that reveals the age of the material.
The gold-decorated socket of a Bronze Age spearhead emerges from the soil in Scotland.
Archaeologists found the weapons hoard while excavating a Bronze Age pit. "As we were stripping the top soil to view more of these pits and postholes, we saw this glint of gold beneath the topsoil," GUARD Archaeology's Toolis said.
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Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.