How exact is carbon dating

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C14 tells you when life ended, so for example: when the goat, sheep or cow died, to produce leather; when the papyrus died to make a page for writing. This means that C14 can tell you, within set limits, when the material for a manuscript became available to be made; it (alone) cannot tell you when a person wrote or drew upon it.What it may tell you is when it could not have been made: before the life of the animal, or plant, ended.They will also take the date range, say 70–90 BCE, and use only the 70.So you can see that even the C14 method can be used in a very political way.Y., reported today in the British journal Nature that some estimates of age based on carbon analyses were wrong by as much as 3,500 years.They arrived at this conclusion by comparing age estimates obtained using two different methods - analysis of radioactive carbon in a sample and determination of the ratio of uranium to thorium in the sample.But it is already clear that the carbon method of dating will have to be recalibrated and corrected in some cases.

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The Lamont-Doherty scientists conducted their analyses on samples of coral drilled from a reef off the island of Barbados.That said, when used with integrity, it can be a lot, lot better than paleography.This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996.Now, because a date may not be accurate, you can ask for either absolute, or relative dating: which places events in order without any measure of the age between events.”For something like the Dead Sea Scrolls, you can thus see why Eisenman was angry when scholars eventually took notice of his urging for C14 tests, but refused to make them relative, which would have been more informative for a series of manuscripts.Then, scholars playing mind games will get a late-BCE date and place the manuscripts as BCE, when all they have is the date a herd of goats was killed, and the resultant manuscripts were written decades later, CE.

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