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[pct-l] Carbon dating

>Message: 9
>Date: Sat, 8 Jun 2002 10:45:55 -0500
>To: pct-l@mailman.backcountry.net
>Subject: Re: [pct-l] Carbon dating
>From: "Billie H. Cleek" <cleek@cleekhouse.com>
>While it is true that carbon dating is not
infallible, it is worth
>pointing out that carbon dating is primarily useful
for pinpointing the
>age of an object on a geological time scale.  1500 in
geological time 
peanuts.  Perspective...

Wait a sec -- are there any radiochronologists among
us who can clear up this matter?  It's true that 1500
years is "peanuts" on a geological scale,  but carbon
dating (I assume that's C-14 dating--is there any
other kind?) can only date things back to 50,000 years
or so, and is supposed to be accurate within centuries
if not decades, to the best of my knowledge.

I can't say anything about the Civil War button.  If
the story isn't apocryphal, there could only have been
something wrong with the sample or how the test was
performed.  However, it's by studying just such an
obvious error as this that scientists learn to
fine-tune their methods.

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