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Re: orion-list Cave 4 linen and deposit date
On Tue, 21 Sep 1999 13:38:14 +0200, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
>The scrolls in the caves were found associated with linen used
>to wrap the scrolls and used also as packing in the jars to
>protect the scrolls (discussed in DJD III). A radiocarbon date
>on any of these linen items therefore could reflect a date of
>deposit of texts. At my request a linen item from Cave 4 was
>AMS radiocarbon dated in the Tucson battery in 1995. The
>calibrated dating of that linen at 1sigma (68% confidence) is
>117-2 BCE. At 2sigma (95% confidence) the date range is
>197 BCE-46 CE. This radiocarbon dating is in better agreement
>with a 63 BCE deposit date than a 68 CE deposit date, although
>of course one could propose (a) use of old linen in a 68 CE
>deposit, (b) multiple dates of deposits of texts into the same
>caves spanning over a century, or (c) an error in the radiocarbon
>date on that linen.
I'll drop off the rest of your post to review what this
news (to me) of the dating of the wrapping means to me.
If these samples were to be given a series of tests AND
from their appearances are from the same time, we would
expect to find a bell curve of results whose mean would
be at the mid point of the range of dates. (A series
of M tests would see the sum of the dates divided by
the number of the dates (d) which should be at the
middle of the range.
In the area of tests within 1 Standard Deviation (S.D.)
of the mean, then 68% of the scores will fall. That
range is from 117-2 BCE, 115 years. The Mean should in
the middle of that range, ie, 115/2 or 57.5 years after
117 - 57.5, or 58.5 BCE.
Likewise, at the 98% level of confidence, that is of
100 measurements 98 of them would fall within that
range, 19 times out twenty, the range is from 197
BCE-46 CE or 150 years. The mean should fall half way
in that range or 75 years after the earliest, namely,
122 BCE. This tells us the measures are skewed toward
the bottom end of the range and so the 58.5 BCE Mean is
The trouble comes from the Labs use one sample and only
speak ing levels of confidence about their testing
This fools us in our analyses until we realize what
they are hypothesizing not what they're doing. We do
this all the time in human surveys, test one and assume
So here we have an indicator that, even with the con-
tamination certain to have occurred, a 60's BCE date is
more than a little certain.
Students should learn this as they begin Lab work but
often they don't, as I have learned from years of
coaching beginners coming to their old math teacher for
The hardest to deal with are the teachers hitting this
for the first time in their professional studies.
(Yes, it is a little simple minded.)
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