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Additional complications come from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, and from the above-ground nuclear tests done in the 1950s and 1960s.

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co.

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Before Present (BP) years is a time scale used mainly in geology and other scientific disciplines to specify when events occurred in the past.

Each kind of flowering plant produces pollen that is unique and pollen grains have tough coverings that can last a long time.

The resilient exine of the pollen and spores is preserved in anaerobic environments, such as lakes and bogs, and some acidic and dry soils, as in caves.

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Ice cores showed the age of a military plane buried in the artic as thousands of years old.Because the "present" time changes, standard practice is to use 1 January 1950 as the commencement date of the age scale, reflecting the fact that radiocarbon dating became practical in the 1950s.The abbreviation "BP", with the same meaning, has also been interpreted both of which requested that publications should use the unit "a" for year and reserve the term "BP" for radiocarbon estimations. A large quantity of contemporary oxalic acid dihydrate was prepared as NBS Standard Reference Material (SRM) 4990B. This value is defined as "modern carbon" referenced to AD 1950.This technique does not give specific ages to items.It only sequences the age of things or determines if something is older or younger than other things.