Uncertainty with carbon 14 dating

Posted by / 18-Nov-2016 09:00

The imposing Judahite fortress of Khirbet Qeiyafa has been securely dated by pottery and radiocarbon analysis to the early tenth century B. Proponents of low Bible chronology, called minimalists, claim the transition occurred around 920 to 900 B. Proponents of a high Bible chronology put the date around 1000 to 980 B. Some scholars have asked if radiocarbon dating accuracy will help settle the question. Radioactive carbon-14 is used to analyze an organic material, such as wood, seeds, or bones, to determine a date of the material’s growth. Did they live in the archaeological period known as Iron Age I, which is archaeologically poorly documented, or in Iron Age IIa, for which more evidence is available.The uncertainty in the calendar age is generally larger than the uncertainty in the radiocarbon age, and depends on the location of the calculated age in the calibration curve.

” Lily Singer-Avitz attempts to answer these questions. And statistical models also vary from researcher to researcher. Since carbon is fundamental to life, occurring along with hydrogen in all organic compounds, the detection of such an isotope might form the basis for a method to establish the age of ancient materials. Libby, a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Chicago, predicted that a radioactive isotope of carbon, known as carbon-14, would be found to occur in nature.This precision yield an uncertainty in the radiocarbon age of approximately ±40 years.Published tree-ring calibration curves are used to determine calendar ages.

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This argument was popularized by Henry Morris (1974, p.164), who used some calculations done in 1968 by Melvin Cook to get the 10,000-year figure. Whitelaw, using a greater ratio of carbon-14 production to decay, concluded that only 5000 years passed since carbon-14 started forming in the atmosphere!