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The radiocarbon dating method is based on the fact that radiocarbon is constantly being created in the atmosphere by the interaction of cosmic rays with atmospheric nitrogen.

"Every year the trees in our forests show the swing of Time's pendulum and put down a mark.They are chronographs, recording clocks, by which the succeeding seasons are set down through definite imprints," he wrote in the pages of National Geographic. 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. The method was developed by Willard Libby in the late 1940s and soon became a standard tool for archaeologists.

Libby received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in 1960.

A professor emeritus at Texas A&M University College Station, Rowe teaches at a branch of the university in Qatar.

Traditional carbon dating involves removing and burning small samples of the object.

“This technique stands to revolutionize radiocarbon dating,” said Marvin Rowe, Ph. “It expands the possibility for analyzing extensive museum collections that have previously been off limits because of their rarity or intrinsic value and the destructive nature of the current method of radiocarbon dating.

In theory, it could even be used to date the Shroud of Turin.” Rowe explained that the new method is a form of radiocarbon dating, the archaeologist’s standard tool to estimate the age of an object by measuring its content of naturally-occurring radioactive carbon.

For decades, radiocarbon dating has been a way for scientists to get a rough picture of when once-living stuff lived.