C14 dating updates and tree rings dating anomalies

14 Apr 2013

At www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-04/ps-mlc041113.php ... the Maya long count calendar has been linked directly into the European calendar by C14 dating methodology. The idea of this arose from the fact the Mayan calendar went out of use when Europeans arrived and brought their culture to a close. No comparisons could be drawn - and now, it is hoped, this has been rectified. The idea is to correlate the historical record of the Maya with the historical events recorded elsewhere, a thoroughly worthwhile endeavour. It wil also correlate climatic events in the Mayan world with climate changes going on in Europe and Asia.

At www.centuries.co.uk/kuniholmfestschrift.pdf ... Peter James has a review of a book dedicated to Peter Kuniholm on his retirement, and his Anatolian/ Aegean tree ring sequences, which appear to be a bit of a pig's ear. Anyone interested in dating and chronology would do well to read and absorb and understand the anomalies inherent in some of the methodology archaeologists are more or less forced to accept. In Anatolia and the Aegean Kuniholm had a particular series of difficulties, and not least of these involved the fact that tree sequences were in short supply and sometimes different species were used in the same tree ring hotchpotch.

Volcanic eruptions in the 17th century BC have been a major source of friction between different sets of people and one of these, dated by Hammer et al to 1645BC was found to have no connection with the famouse Thera event but came from Aniakchuk in Alaska (Pearce et al 2007). Even more interesting, on the C14 dates obtained from an olive tree buried in the tephra of the Thera explosion, a different kind of controversy has developed. Malcolm Weiner, in 'Cold Fusion: the uneasy alliance of history and science' he is quite critical of 'proxy dating' (ice cores and tree rings for example) and suggested that gases depleted of C14 from the Thera volcano probably affected the C14 dates produced (in the olive tree for example). Similar outgassing may also have affected C14 dates of Minoan archaeological strata (see also Douglas Keenan, 'Why Early Historical Radiocarbon dates discovered from the Mediterranean are too early' (published in Radiocarbon 44:1, 2002). See also www.informath.org/pubs/14C02a.pdf and MH Weiner (2003) 'The Absolute chronology of Late Helladic IIIA2 Revisited' published in the Annual of the British School of Athens, 98 p239-250. If nothing else we learn that C14 is not as reliable as it is presented by mainstream. At the back of all this, it would seem, is the resistance - the brick wall of the Egyptologists who are concerned to keep their chronological framework intact. The side effect of the resistance movement is that revisionists can take some of their arguments on board and even use them against the Egyptologists consensus view of chronology. It would be fascinating to view the unpublished C14 dates for MB Kultepe, for example, or the Hittite palace of Suppiluliumas (mentioned by James) together with LHIIIB pottery (in context).