A new study shows that One of the most important dating tools used in archaeology may sometimes give misleading data and it could change whole historical timelines as a result.

The discrepancy is due to significant fluctuations in the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere, and it could force scientists to rethink how they use ancient organic remains to measure the passing of time.

A comparison of radiocarbon ages across the Northern Hemisphere suggests we might have been a little too hasty in assuming how the isotope – also known as radiocarbon – diffuses, potentially shaking up controversial conversations on the timing of events in history.