Error in carbon dating

Since the 1960s, scientists have started accounting for the variations by calibrating the clock against the known ages of tree rings.

As a rule, carbon dates are younger than calendar dates: a bone carbon-dated to 10,000 years is around 11,000 years old, and 20,000 carbon years roughly equates to 24,000 calendar years.

Sturt Manning, Professor of Classical Archaeology at Cornell University, and colleagues, recorded a series of carbon 14 dates in tree rings from southern Jordan near Petra that have sent tremors through the field of archaeology.

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A new study out of Cornell University calls into question the standards associated with the carbon dating method used to date archaeological remains in the region of Israel.

These tree rings were of known dates between AD 16.

They showed that the average discrepancy between the known ages and those supplied by radiocarbon dating was 19 years.

Bronk Ramsey’s team aimed to fill this gap by using sediment from bed of Lake Suigetsu, west of Tokyo.

Two distinct sediment layers have formed in the lake every summer and winter over tens of thousands of years.

Carbon dating is used to work out the age of organic material — in effect, any living thing.

The technique hinges on carbon-14, a radioactive isotope of the element that, unlike other more stable forms of carbon, decays away at a steady rate.

Theories about the correct dates for events in the ancient world have been debated for centuries.

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