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Carbon dating: A window to the world

As global warming causes the Earth’s permafrost to melt, scientists are uncovering some astonishing finds from deep beneath the ice.Producing an accurate age of these treasures is a key step for archaeologists, made possible through carbon dating, a process of dating organic material as far back as 60,000 years using nuclear technology. One well-known discovery was “Ötzi the Iceman,” who became a bona fide scientific celebrity after being found in 1991 by two German hikers 3,210 metres above sea level in the Ötztal Alps on the Austrian-Italian border. The mummified corpse was partly entombed in the ice and thought at first to be a fallen mountaineer or Italian soldier from one of the world wars.

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