The accuracy of carbon-dating

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The accuracy of carbon-dating

Postby Skiessa » Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:02 am

Hello,

what i've been thinking for some time now is that while i'm aware that the carbon-dating of organic material is relatively accurate to 50,000 years or so, doesn't the organic material on the ancient sites get washed off quite easily? does anyone know of how easily the organic material gets washed off by rain or eaten by bacteria? for example, i bet that i could wash the dishes i used today with just water to a point where no traces of the food or me would remain. while the organic material might be preserved well in caves and deserts, many of the ancient megaliths are found in sites such as stonehenge, where it rains almost half of the year every year. can we safely assume that the organic material from the date it was built would be preserved even though the weathering conditions are what they are?
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Re: The accuracy of carbon-dating

Postby Tiompan » Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:53 am

Skiessa wrote:Hello,

what i've been thinking for some time now is that while i'm aware that the carbon-dating of organic material is relatively accurate to 50,000 years or so, doesn't the organic material on the ancient sites get washed off quite easily? does anyone know of how easily the organic material gets washed off by rain or eaten by bacteria? for example, i bet that i could wash the dishes i used today with just water to a point where no traces of the food or me would remain. while the organic material might be preserved well in caves and deserts, many of the ancient megaliths are found in sites such as stonehenge, where it rains almost half of the year every year. can we safely assume that the organic material from the date it was built would be preserved even though the weathering conditions are what they are?


Hello Skiessa ,
Some of the material from Stonehenge that has provided dates consists of antlers and animal bones (from the ditch of the henge and secondary filling of the same ) ,
later human femur from a beaker burial , charcoal from near the Heel stone , and multiple cremation deposits from Aubrey holes etc .
All were buried and survived the weather .There are various papers and one book in particular that will provide the info , if you need the titles ,do ask .
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Re: The accuracy of carbon-dating

Postby Skiessa » Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:32 am

I'm not so worried about what have we been able to find or especially about the stonehenge - i'm wondering the amount of evidence that is lost by time, since to my experience it sounds very likely that various biological, weather and geological factors could wipe out tons of evidence in direct ratio towards the amount of time. does the archaeologists take the environmental factors into account when dating the ancient sites, and how much of evidence they estimate to be lost to these factors?
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Re: The accuracy of carbon-dating

Postby E.P. Grondine » Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:03 am

Skiessa wrote:I'm not so worried about what have we been able to find or especially about the stonehenge - i'm wondering the amount of evidence that is lost by time, since to my experience it sounds very likely that various biological, weather and geological factors could wipe out tons of evidence in direct ratio towards the amount of time. does the archaeologists take the environmental factors into account when dating the ancient sites, and how much of evidence they estimate to be lost to these factors?


Usually good archeologists are very concerned about proper dating, and go to great lengths to make their dates as good as they can determine them to be.

(I would like to note here the date for Serpent Mound which Brad Lepper published, is off by about two millennia.
Worse, the accurate date for the site, which is in agreement with the stone tools found at the site, was pitched out by Lepper for "theoretical" reasons.
Since good archaeologists do not make these kind of errors, or if they make them correct them quickly, I leave you to draw your own conclusions.)

If you are trying to obtain earlier dates for any structures from Egypt or the the Ancient Near East to bring them into alignment with some theory,
then most likely that theory is wrong, not the dates.
Usually people believe what they want to believe until reality intrudes.
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Re: The accuracy of carbon-dating

Postby Tiompan » Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:15 am

Understanding the processes that cause degradation of organic materials in general and at a site should be taken into consideration and usually is . See Taphonomy .
The same approach can also also applied to non organic degradation , as in the case of rock art , but is less well known .
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Re: The accuracy of carbon-dating

Postby Skiessa » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:15 am

E.P. Grondine wrote:
Skiessa wrote:I'm not so worried about what have we been able to find or especially about the stonehenge - i'm wondering the amount of evidence that is lost by time, since to my experience it sounds very likely that various biological, weather and geological factors could wipe out tons of evidence in direct ratio towards the amount of time. does the archaeologists take the environmental factors into account when dating the ancient sites, and how much of evidence they estimate to be lost to these factors?


Usually good archeologists are very concerned about proper dating, and go to great lengths to make their dates as good as they can determine them to be.

(I would like to note here the date for Serpent Mound which Brad Lepper published, is off by about two millennia.
Worse, the accurate date for the site, which is in agreement with the stone tools found at the site, was pitched out by Lepper for "theoretical" reasons.
Since good archaeologists do not make these kind of errors, or if they make them correct them quickly, I leave you to draw your own conclusions.)

If you are trying to obtain earlier dates for any structures from Egypt or the the Ancient Near East to bring them into alignment with some theory,
then most likely that theory is wrong, not the dates.


what kind of findings are used to estimate the time of which the ancient site was constructed, and is there a certain set of rules which the finding has to fulfill in order to be taken into account in the estimation?
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Re: The accuracy of carbon-dating

Postby Minimalist » Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:35 pm

doesn't the organic material on the ancient sites get washed off quite easily?



I'm not following this at all. C14 dating can only be used on organic material. The test measures the amount of C14 left in the sample and then by a mathematical formula determines when the sample died, and thus stopped absorbing C14.

Inorganic material does not absorb C14.
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Re: The accuracy of carbon-dating

Postby E.P. Grondine » Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:51 pm

skiessa,
you need to understand that there are other methods of dating besides carbon 14.

In the case of the Ancient Near East, there are several writing systems which can be read,
and sometimes there are writings found at sites in which it is stated when things were made.
Usually people believe what they want to believe until reality intrudes.
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Re: The accuracy of carbon-dating

Postby Skiessa » Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:46 pm

Minimalist wrote:
doesn't the organic material on the ancient sites get washed off quite easily?



I'm not following this at all. C14 dating can only be used on organic material. The test measures the amount of C14 left in the sample and then by a mathematical formula determines when the sample died, and thus stopped absorbing C14.

Inorganic material does not absorb C14.


..huh? that's why i was asking of what types of organic materials are used in carbon dating and about the rules set to them to determine which findings are left out of the dating system.

E.P. Grondine wrote:skiessa,
you need to understand that there are other methods of dating besides carbon 14.

In the case of the Ancient Near East, there are several writing systems which can be read,
and sometimes there are writings found at sites in which it is stated when things were made.


I don't think i claimed that the carbon dating would be the only system to date ancient megaliths.

..though i would apply some criticism on certain findings of ministry of antiquities of egypt.
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Re: The accuracy of carbon-dating

Postby circumspice » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:07 am

@skiessa: Let me make a wild guess... It is your belief that the Sphinx & the pyramids on the Giza Plateau are far older than the generally accepted dates & you're questioning the validity of the dating system/s used to date them... Let's see... Water erosion on the Sphinx... (water erosion harks back to a far distant past when Egypt had abundant rainfall) Thus, the use of the carbon 14 dating method would possibly be irrelevant. Yes?

So... What's it going to be? Atlantis, Ancient Aliens or perhaps even the Young Earth theory??? :roll:
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Re: The accuracy of carbon-dating

Postby Skiessa » Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:44 am

circumspice wrote:@skiessa: Let me make a wild guess... It is your belief that the Sphinx & the pyramids on the Giza Plateau are far older than the generally accepted dates & you're questioning the validity of the dating system/s used to date them... Let's see... Water erosion on the Sphinx... (water erosion harks back to a far distant past when Egypt had abundant rainfall) Thus, the use of the carbon 14 dating method would possibly be irrelevant. Yes?

So... What's it going to be? Atlantis, Ancient Aliens or perhaps even the Young Earth theory??? :roll:


sure thing i think that the mainstream view of the pyramid is utter nonsense and would be impossible for even the modern people to accomplish in the given time, and i scratch my head to bone to understand how the mainstream archaeology doesn't acknowledge the water erosion on the sphinx, but they are not the reason i'm asking about the accuracy of the carbon dating - neither of the mentioned mainstream views even relies on the carbon dating as far as i'm aware of. i'm asking about the carbon dating because as i've mentioned, i doubt that the organic traces could very well scatter and be washed away long before the biological accuracy limit of 50,000 years, and i think that this obviously concerns the archaeologists - i could dump all of my food leftovers on my backyard and i guarantee that they would be gone in two months.

i've kept my questions and tone neutral in this topic, but somehow i've had zero direct answers to any of my questions and i'm already being slammed with ad hominems. you would think that any field of science would be happy to demonstrate it's methods to the regular people, but here instead i get avoidance and aggression. while i'm aware that this forum most likely not very populated with field archaeologists, you would think that such simple questions would be easy to answer even for the average joe interested in archaeology. -for example, if i go to the physics forums to ask about the accuracy of the use of the doppler effect i'm being slammed with tons of articles and literature about the subject instead, which demonstrate the accuracy and experimentation as well as the flaws of the method.
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Re: The accuracy of carbon-dating

Postby Tiompan » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:19 pm

Skiessa wrote:
somehow i've had zero direct answers to any of my questions


You asked "does the archaeologists take the environmental factors into account when dating the ancient sites, and how much of evidence they estimate to be lost to these factors? "
And were given a polite , non aggressive ,non evasive answer "Understanding the processes that cause degradation of organic materials in general and at a site should be taken into consideration and usually is . See Taphonomy .
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Re: The accuracy of carbon-dating

Postby Skiessa » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:29 pm

Tiompan wrote:
Skiessa wrote:
somehow i've had zero direct answers to any of my questions


You asked "does the archaeologists take the environmental factors into account when dating the ancient sites, and how much of evidence they estimate to be lost to these factors? "
And were given a polite , non aggressive ,non evasive answer "Understanding the processes that cause degradation of organic materials in general and at a site should be taken into consideration and usually is . See Taphonomy .


polite, not aggressive, but neither accurate. i'm asking about the estimation of the amount of data lost due to the environmental issues such as washing away, being consumed by bacteria and being scattered by scavengers in amount of time, which the taphonomy doesn't answer or define. after it i asked about the types of materials taken into account and if there is a procedure to screen the available data. scroll back to see what happened lol.
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Re: The accuracy of carbon-dating

Postby Tiompan » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:51 pm

Skiessa wrote:
Tiompan wrote:
Skiessa wrote:
somehow i've had zero direct answers to any of my questions


You asked "does the archaeologists take the environmental factors into account when dating the ancient sites, and how much of evidence they estimate to be lost to these factors? "
And were given a polite , non aggressive ,non evasive answer "Understanding the processes that cause degradation of organic materials in general and at a site should be taken into consideration and usually is . See Taphonomy .


polite, not aggressive, but neither accurate. i'm asking about the estimation of the amount of data lost due to the environmental issues such as washing away, being consumed by bacteria and being scattered by scavengers in amount of time, which the taphonomy doesn't answer or define. after it i asked about the types of materials taken into account and if there is a procedure to screen the available data. scroll back to see what happened lol.


So you were wrong to suggest that you didn't get a direct answer and any you did were aggressive and evasive .
Further the response was accurate , Taphonomic logic does take into account material that has disappeared for any number of reasons and therefore can't be taken into account .

You also didn't mention consumed by bacteria , scattered by scavengers .
Obviously if the material is not there it can't be dated .
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Re: The accuracy of carbon-dating

Postby circumspice » Mon Feb 05, 2018 1:06 pm

Skiessa wrote:
circumspice wrote:@skiessa: Let me make a wild guess... It is your belief that the Sphinx & the pyramids on the Giza Plateau are far older than the generally accepted dates & you're questioning the validity of the dating system/s used to date them... Let's see... Water erosion on the Sphinx... (water erosion harks back to a far distant past when Egypt had abundant rainfall) Thus, the use of the carbon 14 dating method would possibly be irrelevant. Yes?

So... What's it going to be? Atlantis, Ancient Aliens or perhaps even the Young Earth theory??? :roll:


sure thing i think that the mainstream view of the pyramid is utter nonsense and would be impossible for even the modern people to accomplish in the given time, and i scratch my head to bone to understand how the mainstream archaeology doesn't acknowledge the water erosion on the sphinx, but they are not the reason i'm asking about the accuracy of the carbon dating - neither of the mentioned mainstream views even relies on the carbon dating as far as i'm aware of. i'm asking about the carbon dating because as i've mentioned, i doubt that the organic traces could very well scatter and be washed away long before the biological accuracy limit of 50,000 years, and i think that this obviously concerns the archaeologists - i could dump all of my food leftovers on my backyard and i guarantee that they would be gone in two months.

i've kept my questions and tone neutral in this topic, but somehow i've had zero direct answers to any of my questions and i'm already being slammed with ad hominems. you would think that any field of science would be happy to demonstrate it's methods to the regular people, but here instead i get avoidance and aggression. while i'm aware that this forum most likely not very populated with field archaeologists, you would think that such simple questions would be easy to answer even for the average joe interested in archaeology. -for example, if i go to the physics forums to ask about the accuracy of the use of the doppler effect i'm being slammed with tons of articles and literature about the subject instead, which demonstrate the accuracy and experimentation as well as the flaws of the method.


@skiessa: You did indeed set the tone, which was far short of neutral. Your out of hand rejection of even a remote possibility of radio carbon dating being anywhere near accurate was duly noted. What it seems that you want is info that you can naysay & attempt to shoot down with 'logic' rather than hard fact. You want to have a discussion where you can state 'no way' without having to supply hard data for the discussion. In other words, you are setting up a discussion where you will lay out the facts as you believe them & demand that the participants in the discussion supply the proof that you demand. Been there, done that. That leaves us with sussing out what your agenda is...

For your information, a duplicate of the Great Pyramid COULD indeed be built today & in a similar time frame, if not an even shorter one. Please explain to us why it would be impossible for a pyramid to be built in these days & times. I'd be fascinated to hear your reasoning, such as it is. That is not to say that there is any entity, either corporate or governmental, who would want to bear such an expense. Anything can be built at any time & anywhere if someone is willing to bear the monetary, materials & manpower expenses. Please note that the great cathedrals of Europe were built over generations & centuries of time because of the great expense & vast amounts of materials & manpower needed for such an undertaking. Make no mistake though, if someone wanted something such as a pyramid or cathedral to be built, it would be built. Another thing you overlooked is the motivation of the person who wanted something on such a huge scale built. Legend says that Khufu was a cruel despot who actively sought out immortality. Granted that the legends are not contemporary & come from a much later date, but the legend was possibly passed down orally before being recorded. Khufu wanted immortality. His ticket to immortality was his tomb/pyramid, his house of immortality as it were. He was the absolute ruler of the wealthiest & most powerful nation in the world at that time. He commanded all that wealth & power, he had 27 years in which to achieve his goal. It is a known fact that every Pharaoh began construction of his tomb immediately upon ascending the throne. A few the pharaohs even had plenty of time to see their goal realized in their lifetime. Most of the time they died before their tomb was finished & their successor either finished the project or halted it & began their own tomb building project. There are several unfinished pyramids to attest to that fact, along with several unfinished tombs in Saqarra & in the Valley of the Kings.

Egypt is unusual in that the preservation of the vestiges of such endeavors is not at all uncommon. Most of the places where tombs were built were not suitable places for people to live, so much of the archaeological evidence remains. The arid desert climate assured that there was a lot for future generations to find.

Now, let's get back to the question at hand... What is your agenda? What is your pet belief/theory? It seems obvious that you wanted to start a discussion about your belief that there is no way the ancient Egyptians could have possibly built such structures, that they lacked the technology & infrastructure in order to do it... You also want to make a case for radio carbon dating being inaccurate & unreliable. Go ahead, lay it on us. We've heard most of the wacky theories out there. Maybe you can surprise us with a new & improved brand of idiocy?
Nah... "There's nothing new under the sun."

My vote goes for the Young Earth theory simply because you seem to be saying that all organic traces would be erased in a very short period of time, therefore invalidating any very old dates arrived at by radio carbon dating for the pyramids.
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