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Re: orion AMS dating

On Sat, 26 Jul 1997 09:43:15 +0000, goranson@acpub.duke.edu writes:
>Tom Simms wrote that the median of the date measurements for AMS C14
>dates of tested Qumran manuscripts is 65 BCE. That corresponds to what I
>wrote (or at least it very, very closely corresponds; I said almost half
>of the ranges were post-63 BCE; for an exact number one would need to
>decide whether to exclude texts of uncertain provenance, etc.) For
>conversation's sake and for the sake of civility :-), I'll assume your
>date is correct.
>  My *point* remains the same with either presentation of the data--or,
>more importantly, with the scientific journals' reports of the data
>(which anyone can read in Radiocarbon and 'Atiqot articles; and anyone
>can make a chart combining the results).
>   Whether the precise numbers for the median and the mean are 65 or 63
>or so is a small difference. The *point* of my post was: what does this
>mean mean? Or, more precisely, what does the range of date probabilities
>mean? It means or shows--contrary to what posts by you and others have
>declared--that the Qumran scrolls cannot have been all deposited before
>63 BCE or so. Or to be more precise: the data indicate that the chances
>of such a date of deposit are vanishingly small.
>Stephen Goranson

It also means, given the Standard Deviations you quote, the chances of a
70 AD deposit are zilch, if greater then zilch, then infinitesimal.

Also given the size of the SD, the probability of deposit in 65 BC appears 
to be withing 2 SD of the mean which is a probability of 90%, uh, 19 times out
of 20?  So where do you get such a low level of probability for that date?  
90% is NOT vanishingly small.   Vanishingly Small only begins to occur outside 3
SD from the Mena (oops, Mean, not the Egyptian King) and half of that figure 
is for above the mean and half for below.

Remember, we're working with inside the ballpark numbers, data you've

Consult your seconds, now.  I'm doing this from what I've taught.  And also
remember we are not discussion the significance of differences but the probabil-
ity the Mean Score is what is reported.  From the evidence you have shown me,
the C-14 allows you to say the tested items were created on the Mean date, a
value you've not given to the list.

>From the way you've reported the scores, I would say the Mean score is 
somewhere between 69 and 65 BC.  

To which I'll add, the chance the Mean Score was 70 AD is 0.

>From what I've recently written on other lists about contamination on
C - 14 test material, IMV, the items are older than they tested.  
Contamination makes them test younger.

Tom Simms