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If radiometrically dating the rock layer the artifact was found in, a cache of bones found in the same layer, and perhaps a few other objects/samples all provide similar date ranges, we can be reasonably confident in the dating of the object(s).

As for your question about cave paintings and such, the ones capable of being dated usually involve some sort of organic material in the pigments used, from flower petals, berries, that sort of thing.

When it dies, this intake of "new" 14C stops, essentially starting the radioactive decay stop watch: If you know how much 14C was present in the atmosphere at the time, and know that no new 14C will be taken in to a dead plant, you can approximate its age to a reasonable degree of accuracy.Sorry i should have said: atmospheric 14C levels are constantly replenished by radiation from space.This means that while the 14C content in the plant will slowly fall after it dies, the atmospheric 14C content will stay relatively even.Depending on the strength of the AMS, its upkeep, the quality of the standards (samples with known ratios), and the purity of tr sample blanks (samples with no 10-Be, only 9-Be), it is possible to obtain ages as young as 100-200 years worth of exposure.So with that in mind, if the sones at Stonehenge were quarried from depths of of the Stonehenge stones (maximum cosmic ray exposure) would represent the age of the stones and not the rock.The example of the Sphinx provides a unique example of how this might not be as straight forward because it was reburied after initial exposure.

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