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The first method was based on radioactive elements whose property of decay occurs at a constant rate, known as the half-life of the isotope.Today, many different radioactive elements have been used, but the most famous absolute dating method is radiocarbon dating, which uses the isotope C.Carbon-14 is continually formed in nature by the interaction of neutrons with nitrogen-14 in the Earth’s atmosphere; the neutrons required for this reaction are produced by cosmic rays interacting with the atmosphere.Radiocarbon present in molecules of atmospheric carbon dioxide enters the biological carbon cycle: it is absorbed from the air by green plants and then passed on to animals through the food chain.
Based on a discipline of geology called stratigraphy, rock layers are used to decipher the sequence of historical geological events.They will also take the date range, say 70–90 BCE, and use only the 70.So you can see that even the C14 method can be used in a very political way.Now, because a date may not be accurate, you can ask for either absolute, or relative dating: which places events in order without any measure of the age between events.”For something like the Dead Sea Scrolls, you can thus see why Eisenman was angry when scholars eventually took notice of his urging for C14 tests, but refused to make them relative, which would have been more informative for a series of manuscripts.Then, scholars playing mind games will get a late-BCE date and place the manuscripts as BCE, when all they have is the date a herd of goats was killed, and the resultant manuscripts were written decades later, CE.
C14 tells you when life ended, so for example: when the goat, sheep or cow died, to produce leather; when the papyrus died to make a page for writing. This means that C14 can tell you, within set limits, when the material for a manuscript became available to be made; it (alone) cannot tell you when a person wrote or drew upon it.