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The way scientists achieve that is by radiocarbon dating things they know the age of – trees.

You could see there was the impression of somebody's toes.

It uses the presence of radioactive carbon 14 in living things to deduce the age of old objects.

When something is alive, its ratio of C14 to the two stable forms of carbon, C12 and C13 is in harmony with its environment.

At university she took some anthropology classes to find out what those ruins were really all about.

Then she got hooked."There was this little sandal that was excavated out of a rock shelter in California.

It turned out that an old exhibition catalogue had made its way back to China where forgers had replicated exactly the styles and motifs.

Prior also uses the bomb peak to find out whether Australian groundwater samples, which make up much of the lab's work, are from ancient aquifers or from water sources being regularly recharged.

Lab manager Dr Christine Prior already has bad news for another client – an art authenticator in Hong Kong.