Radiocarbon inaccuracies

7 Jun 2018

At ... the theme here is that C14 carbon dating is a big tool as used by archaeologists  in order to date the age of organic material (including timbers). Is it all its cracked up to be. Apparently, Sturt Manning has reservations. He and his team have revealed variations in the radiocarbon cycle at certain periods of time. Before anyone gets over excited he is talking about very short period of 20 years - not the big changes as envisioned by revisionist historians. In fact, he is taking a swing at the calibration curves that assume at any given time radiocarbon levels are similar and stable across both hemispheres.

Looking at the last 50 years it is known that atmospheric measurements vary through the year - and plants grow at different times of the year in different parts of the northern hemisphere. They say thay have found an 'average' deficit of around 19 years compared to the standard calibration curve - in the southern Levant (where the research was done). The reason why they chose Israel and Jordan is a moot point but a certain amount of controvery surrounds early Iron Age dates (the dispute between Finkelstein and Mazar for example) which revolves around Biblical chronology. The two archaeological camps use C14 methodology - but at different laboratories. However, this is not necessarily what this is all about, although it could shed some light by shining a torch, as it is the accepted Timeline of History that may be skewed. The new findings, though small beer in the grand scheme, can make all the difference to some academic disputes - affecting archaeological, historical and paleoclimate debates. Revisionists of course would like a much greater discrepancy to come to light - but for the moment that is not happening. It would require finding data doubling up in the dendro supported C14 calibration. Not impossible but for the moment uninvestigated seriously. Perhaps, never to be.

PS ... the discrepancies may not be as revolutionary as claimed. It may be that they have picked up on IntCal 2013's unreliability as it combines a whole swathe of dating methodologies rather than just tree rings and radiocarbon.