Can you carbon date stone material? What materials can undergo carbon dating? How are monuments such as Stonehenge in England dated?

1 Answer
Feb 16, 2016

No. Only organic materials that originally contained carbon can be "carbon dated".


Sedimentary rocks may be carbon-dated by inference if they contain carbonaceous fossils. The same may be true for igneous rocks, but finding suitable carbon samples may be unlikely. Other signs, such as erosion may provide clues to the age of weather-exposed rocks.

"Monuments" like Stonehenge and the Easter Island statues may also be assigned at least approximate dates based on other cultural artifacts and histories. A limitation of true "carbon dating" is that it is not very accurate at all for times less than several thousands of years. Thus, many early pre-history artifacts are really on the error-prone edge of the techniques accuracy.