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Re: VMs: Oldest Dating

Dennis tsalagi@xxxxxxxx wrote
On 27 February 2004 21:52

> elvogt@xxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
> >
> > >       Gabriel notes on the EVMT page that carbon-14 dating
> > > is very inexact for our putative time period, because
> > > of the shape of the decay curve.
> >
> > I guess you have to take it with a grain of salt. It's probably not as
good as
> > a Beinecke stamp "acquired 1435", but should still give you a result
plus minus
> > a few decades. IMHO.

Dennis writes:

> Apparently not.  On the EVMT website,
> http://web.bham.ac.uk/G.Landini/evmt/evmt.htm
> I find:
> (extracted from the Voynich mailing list, Dec. 1991)
>     "Radiocarbon dating using an accelerator mass
> spectrometer would be able to give you a date although
> you would have to destroy approximately 30 mg of vellum
> in the process. This would date the death of the animal
> from which the skin was obtained to be made into
> vellum. It would not give the time when the ink was
> applied onto the vellum.  Obviously the ink could not
> have been applied before the animal grew it's skin but
> the ink could (theoretically) have been applied ANYTIME
> afterwards. Unfortunately radiocarbon dating, being a
> statistical technique, has a standard error term which
> at one sigma is about +/-60 radiocarbon years. Because
> there is not a linear relationship between radiocarbon
> and calendar years it is necessary to calibrate the
> radiocarbon age to obtain a calendrical one. The period
> AD c.1600-1950 is a very bad one in radiocarbon terms
> since production of 14C in the upper atmosphere kept
> pace with radioactive decay so that there is a
> "plateau". This means that it is not possible to
> distinguish dates in the last few hundred years, only
> to say that an object must date to sometime within that
> period. [After 1950 the atomic bomb pulse makes
> accurate dating possible]. It would be easy to check
> whether the vellum dated to the 13th century AD or to
> the period c.1600-1950 but it would not be possible to
> check whether it belonged to 1600-1700 or to 1912. If
> it is a forgery it is (just) possible that the forger
> wrote on "old" vellum in which case the radiocarbon
> date would tell you nothing about when it was written."
> Dennis

Also individual pages could have been from the skins of different animals
that died at different times. Almost certainly this will be true. So we
would only gain an idead if all of the pages were tested.

Correct me if I am wrong here.


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