Radiocarbon dating the bible
Moreover, as so much emphasis is put on questions of different calibration methods and different statistical manipulations, sometimes the archaeological evidence is neglected and the data are not properly presented.
The first stage in every discussion should be the proper presentation of the main archaeological finds—that is, stratigraphy and pottery.
For all these reasons, contrasting dates have been reached in the ongoing chronological debate concerning the Iron Age.
A decisive solution is far from being accomplished.
According to the so-called high chronology, the transition occurred around 1000 or 980 B. The hope of many scholars who feel that this science-based radiocarbon research will bring the debate to its longed-for solution is, in my view, difficult to adopt.
The question I would like to raise is whether radiocarbon dating is really more precise, objective and reliable than the traditional way of dating when applied to the problem of the date of the transition from Iron I to Iron IIa.
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Dedicated at the University of Chicago on October 10, 2016.
Omitting outliers would be acceptable only so long as it is being done in a consistent, transparent way. Radiocarbon years differ from calendar years because the former are dependent on the varying content of carbon-14 in the atmosphere.But the absolute date after calibration depends on which calibration formula is used. This uncertainty ranges from 20 years (for high-precision dating) through intermediate values of 50–100 years, and in some cases up to 100–150 years. For interpreting the results, different statistical models are used by different researchers.The results, depending on the calibration, can be quite different. Naturally, different statistical models for interpretation of the same data will produce different results. After processing the data with all these scientific tools, most archaeologists “improve” the given dates in accordance with broader archaeological and historical considerations.In the following article, “Carbon 14—The Solution to Dating David and Solomon? Calibration procedures are complex and periodically revised as new information comes to light, skewing the radiocarbon dating accuracy.” Lily Singer-Avitz attempts to answer these questions. And statistical models also vary from researcher to researcher.
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Hopefully, as radiocarbon dating continues to develop, it will eventually be more useful in solving the problems of Iron Age chronology.