Dead sea scrolls dated carbon dating
Libby had first started using the dating method in 1946 and the early testing required relatively large samples, so testing on scrolls themselves only became feasible when methods used in the dating process were improved upon. Davies made a request to date a number of scrolls, which led to a series of tests carried out in Zurich on samples from fourteen scrolls.Among these were samples from other sites around the Dead Sea, which contained date indications within the text to supply a control for the carbon dating results.The oldest copy has been scientifically dated to 125 BCE using carbon dating techniques.Since it is a copy, the original was written long before 125 BCE.
In their letter, however, aside from sending an attachment detailing these new methods, they cited two caveats.
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They range in size from small fragments to complete books from the holy scriptures (the Old Testament).
The manuscripts also include uncanonized sectarian books, letters and commercial documents, written on papyrus and parchment.
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One was that the new methods of dating materials should be applied to determine relative not absolute chronology, that is, earlier versus later in the same test run -- absolute chronology in their view being virtually impossible to determine because of the multiple imprecisions to which C14 testing was subject.