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These artefact types may again be linked with other artefacts types, e.g. By studying how such artefact types appear together, it is possible to build up large artefacts chronologies.

Fortunately, Willard Libby, a scientist who would later win the 1960 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, developed the process known as radiocarbon dating in the late 1940s. In a nutshell, it works like this: After an organism dies, it stops absorbing carbon-14, so the radioactive isotope starts to decay and is not replenished.

Archaeologists can then measure the amount of carbon-14 compared to the stable isotope carbon-12 and determine how old an item is.

The pioneer work in this respect is Oddmunn Farbregd’s book on Iron Age and Medieval arrow chronology from 1972, based on the finds from the Oppdal Mountains in Norway.

However, most of the finds from the ice cannot be dated by typology.

Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 ± 40 years, meaning that every 5,700 years or so the object loses half its carbon-14.