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orion-list Radiocarbon calibration update

	A long-awaited calibration issue of _Radiocarbon_ journal,
	Vol. 40, No. 3 1998, has the formal publication of "Intcal 98",
	the calibration data sets for converting raw radiocarbon
	measurements to calendar dates.  This calibration agrees
	exactly with the unofficial, advance version upon which I
	based my calibrations in my article on radiocarbon dating 
	and the Scrolls in the Flint/Vanderkam volume, _The Dead 
	Sea Scrolls after Fifty Years_, vol. I (Brill: 1998).  This means 
	what was "unofficial" at the time of that publication is now 
	"official", likely to be used by virtually every radiocarbon lab 
	in the world for the coming few years (5? 10? 15?), and 
	replaces all previous calibration data sets.  It means the calendar 
	dates in my article are "correct" dates to quote (i.e. the most
	accurate known calibrated date reporting)--in terms of what the
radiocarbon profession is using as the most current system.  

	(I had sort of been holding my breath wondering if any minor
	changes would be made when the publication appeared that 
	would require recalculating all my numbers again, but that is 
	not the case.)

	None of the lab measurements done at Zurich in 1990 or at
	Tucson in 1994-95 themselves are changed.  What is improved
	is simply the accuracy of calibration of those raw laboratory
measurements (i.e. what is called "radiocarbon age") into 
	calendar years based on tree-ring data.

	Greg Doudna
	U. of Copenhagen
For private reply, e-mail to Greg Doudna <gd@teol.ku.dk>
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