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Re: ostraca

I have been communicating with a friend of mine, Kirk Bertsche, who earned
his Ph.D. in physics here at Berkeley and pretty well knows his stuff. 
Here is his response on C14 dating of pottery: 

Yes, people have done dating on potsherds.  What they actually do is to find
organics (bits of twigs, seeds, etc.) that had gotten into the pottery at the
time of manufacture, to dig these out, and to C-14 date them.  There may also
be inorganic C in the samples, but these will not give reliable dates because
their history and origin would be unknown.

A similar technique is used by a UC prof down in So. CA (Berger?) to date
mortar in old Irish churches.  He digs out bits of twigs and such from the
mortar and dates them.

end of quote

Michael Hildenbrand echad@uclink.berkeley.edu

On Wed, 14 Feb 1996 STONE@vms.huji.ac.il wrote:

> I have just finished a telephone conversation with one of the people
> entrusted with the publication of the ostraca.
> I have asked (and agreement was given) for a report to post on the
> Orion Net as soon as there are readings which are certain. I am
> quite sure (though I did not ask) that the dating will be done on
> paleographic grounds.
> With all due respects, I have never heard of C14 dating of Ostraka.
> You need enough organic material (in this case only the ink) and I
> doubt whether anyone will burn the ink of the ostraka to get dates.
> Please, (a) be patient; (b) be moderate.
> On C14 datings of the Scrolls there was a new series of datings
> done not too long ago and the results were published. Prof. Emanuel
> Tov was involved. I shall cc this letter to him, and perhaps he
> will post the relevant newsreleases and references to articles.
> I can summarize those results by saying that, grosso modo, the
> C14 bore out the dates reached on basis of paleographic typology.
> Michael Stone
> Director,
> Orion Center for the Study of the DSS