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Radiocarbon Dating And Qumran

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Chapter Summary

Samples from Qumran dated by Radiocarbon (14C) are potentially contaminated with preservatives or other contaminants. This includes some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were treated with castor oil in the 1950s. This castor oil is not removed by the standard AAA pre-treatment used for 14C samples. This chapter develops a pre-cleaning step, to be applied before the standard 14C procedure, which shows to remove such contaminants effectively. In this contribution, a short review of the principles of the 14C method, the conventions and the most recent developments are given, including the 2004 calibration of the timescale. Quality control issues and sampling strategies are discussed. This covers the state of the art of 14C dating with an emphasis on matters relevant to Qumran.

Keywords: Dead Sea Scrolls; Qumran; radiocarbon dating



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