This does not mean that recalibration is bad, indeed it is necessary, but it should make one more soberly assess any reported dates as being tentative.
The technique hinges on carbon-14, a radioactive isotope of the element that, unlike other more stable forms of carbon, decays away at a steady rate.
Organisms capture a certain amount of carbon-14 from the atmosphere when they are alive.
Climate records from a Japanese lake are set to improve the accuracy of the dating technique, which could help to shed light on archaeological mysteries such as why Neanderthals became extinct.
Carbon dating is used to work out the age of organic material — in effect, any living thing.
It was first displayed at Lirey in France in the 1350s and subsequently passed into the hands of the Dukes of Savoy.