[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: orion C14 on 63 BCE

> 2) That a 63 BCE 11-cave deposit time has been excluded by C14 was
> graciously acknowledged by Greg Doudna in his informative post.

So it seems.  But it is not quite so simple as assuming C14
excludes 63 BCE and closing the case.  Five of 19 C14 Qumran 
scrolls dates measure younger than the sharp drop at c. 55-40 BCE.  
This is too many, and in measurements from both labs, to make 
a sample contamination proposal tenable in explanation of this.  

Therefore the 63 BCE proposal of Ian on this list, which I thought 
was a good one, seems excluded.  Ian's argument was simple and basic: 
to rephrase, Ian argued that 4QMishC is like the date on the 
newspaper in the trash can which dates the trash.  The latest 
identified date reference in 4QMishC seems to be 64 BCE 
(presence of Aemilius Scaurus in Palestine), just before Pompey's 
arrival.  No other internal scrolls references date later than 
this, q.e.d.  
However intriguing this may be, C14 data is the real absolute date 
information on the scrolls in default of better proven methods, and 
does seem to exclude 63 BCE.  However while ackowledging this, 
let us refrain from total certainty unless there is sound corroborating 
evidence, for this reason: the C14 dates in the Middle East are based on 
comparisons with dated tree ring measurements from North America and 
Ireland.  But in the northern hemisphere there is an estimated 10-20 
years regional variance possibility for air circulation (this is 
based on studies, not guesswork).  Let us suppose the air (with its C14) 
over North America and Ireland measured in the calibration curve was 
10-15 years younger than the air over the Middle East.  This would be 
just enough to put the 63 BCE date back into business as a possibility.  
There is no current evidence that this is the case.  No one will know 
for sure on this point until Israel Carmi's C14 team in Israel completes 
a regional calibration curve for the Levant.  On present evidence the 
possibility does not seem likely.  But let us be knowledgeable of our 
assumptions and the possible pitfalls--and that the real information 
may be lurking in the nooks and crannies of the data rather than on 
the surface.  
Greg Doudna