The bible and radiocarbon dating archaeology
Some samples might be degraded or out of context within the site: meaning a spurious date might be assigned.
And samples must be collected carefully, as often they have been in stable environments prior to their unearthing by industrious archaeologists and may be easily degraded in the open air or attacked by moisture and sunlight once gathered.
These various chronologies and their inherent inconsistencies, known as ‘relative dates,’ are a constant series of hurdles in the quest of historians and archaeologists to record mankind’s existence on earth.
However, in the 1940s, the organization of time was transformed by the revelation of radiometric dating and the subsequent creation of a scientific chronology of humankind, known as ‘absolute dating’.
This date can then be calibrated with dendrochronology, sediment cores, and/or other dating methods to ensure maximum accuracy and account for discrepancies in the amount of carbon fourteen in the atmosphere over the past few centuries. Regardless of these issues, carbon dating is still one of the most effective tools in the archaeologist’s kit.
The newly calibrated result is then given as a more absolute B. which can be correlated to whichever calendar system necessary (though is most often calibrated to the Gregorian B. It has provided illumination where none was once thought possible.
However, a number of things can easily go wrong during this stage of the process and the labs that calculate radiocarbon dates are subject to constant scrutiny to ensure that they are up to par; but even so, samples sent to different labs often produce slightly various results. These are established by a variety of elements, including but not limited to: the quality of the sample, the quality of the lab, and the age of the sample.
Some ill-fated attempts to define time even attempted to count backwards through the genealogies of the Bible, establishing a series of dates which remain a cause of confusion.
With all the technical terms and mathematical physics equations taken out, carbon dating sounds pretty easy right?
Wrong: it involves a complex process of collecting a useful sample, dating it properly, and calibrating the scientific dates to ones recognizable in the outside world.
The dates given for Rapa Nui attract particular debate as they have been used to establish the time of the migration to the island.
With carbon dating the type of sample and the placement of it within the site are very important.