Methods of dating ancient artifacts

These samples had been assigned dates based on the usual pottery-based archaeological methods and comparison with other excavated layers (aka horizontal stratigraphy).

Previously assigned dates were used to narrow the focus of each radiocarbon test, for even if all the assumptions underlying interpretation of radiocarbon tests were verifiably accurate, results are not exact.9 The Royal Tombs at Abydos are associated with Egypt’s First Dynasty.

Many bits of organic material carbon-dated in the latest study of Egypt’s First Dynasty originally came from these tombs.

Image by Michael Dee, via NBC.10 The investigators statistically compared the results of radiocarbon testing on 74 new and 112 old specimens from Egypt’s Pre-Dynastic periods and First Dynasty with all the other archaeological data collected on those materials.

As we will discuss below, however, this date is still too early to be compatible with biblical history.

Egyptian monarchs didn’t start building pyramids until the Third Dynasty, conventionally dated around 2686 BC.11 Since the focus of the study was the First Dynasty, the researchers obtained most of their regnal results from the Royal Tombs at Umm el-Qaab, the sacred burial site of Abydos.

Due to technological necessity, more complex artifacts are newer than simpler artifacts, so often an artifact can be dated simply by looking the materials and process used to make it.The human race has existed for at least one hundred thousand years, and perhaps even longer.However, writing was only invented in 5000 BCE, and even then, few people were literate and archival methods were very poor.Organisms take in carbon-14 naturally while they are alive, but when they die, they stop absorbing it.Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,000 years, so it slowly decays and its frequency declines as the organic material is buried.

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