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Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 years so dating is limited to between a few hundred and about 50,000 years. It is also important that samples for dating are collected carefully to ensure they have not been contaminated with more recent carbon.
Radiocarbon analysis can only be used on organic materials, and is often used to date charcoal associated with campfires and archaeological deposits.
Four main methods have been used in Willandra archaeology.
This well known method was the first technique that became available for accurate dating of old materials.
The system, which Forsberg calls FIRES (for FIrebrick Resistance-heated Energy Storage), would in effect raise the minimum price of electricity on the utilities market, which currently can plunge to almost zero at times of high production, such as the middle of a sunny day when solar plant outputs are at their peak.
Distributors determine how much power they expect to need during each hour, and suppliers bid based on their expected costs for producing that power.
The method also assumes a 'zeroing' event in the life of the material, when it was either last heated or exposed to sunlight.
Firebricks, designed to withstand high heat, have been part of our technological arsenal for at least three millennia, since the era of the Hittites.
Dates above and below a location provide minimum and maximum age determinations according to the law of superimposition.
Thermoluminescence is a similar technique to optical dating, but uses heat instead of light to stimulate the minerals.
Optical dating, also known as optically stimulated luminescence (OSL), dates the last time mineral sediments (usually quartz or feldspar grains ) were exposed to sunlight.