Radiocarbon dating dead sea scrolls

Patrick Zukeran reviews the discovery of and important historical findings from the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The texts discovered provide clear evidence as to the accuracy of our version of the Old Testament and the care with which it was preserved.

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This community, which began in the third century B.

C., devoted their days to the study and copying of sacred Scripture as well as theological and sectarian works.

Its half-life is 5,730 30 years, so it never has nor can be used to date carbon samples millions of years old.

When a plant or animal dies, it stops taking in carbon.

There was also a historical test of a piece of linen performed in 1950 by Willard Libby, the inventor of the dating method.

Libby had first started using the dating method in 1946 and the early testing required relatively large samples, so testing on scrolls themselves only became feasible when methods used in the dating process were improved upon. Davies made a request to date a number of scrolls, which led to a series of tests carried out in Zurich on samples from fourteen scrolls.This variation is caused by both natural processes and human activity.Carbon dating the Dead Sea Scrolls refers to a series of radiocarbon dating tests performed on the Dead Sea Scrolls, first by the AMS (Accelerator Mass Spectrometry) lab of the Zurich Institute of Technology in 1991 and then by the AMS Facility at the University of Arizona in Tucson in 1994-95.However, as the quantity of 14 absorbed by all life fluctuates from year to year, the figure must be calibrated based on known fluctuation.This calibrated range of dates is represented in the last column, given with a 2-sigma error rating, which means at 95% confidence.Since its conception by Willard Libby in 1949, it has been invaluable to the discipline.

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