Carbon dating dead sea scrolls over 45 single dating clubs
To check this evidence, radiocarbon ages of 14 selected scrolls were determined using accelerator mass spectrometry.
The calibrated radiocarbon ages agree well, except in one case, with the paleographic estimates or the specific dates noted on the scrolls.
The following table shows all the Qumran-related samples that were tested by Zurich (Z), Tucson (T) and Libby (L).
The column headed "14C Age" provides a raw age before 1950 for each sample tested.
This represents the ideal date for the amount of 14C measured for the sample.
However, as the quantity of 14 absorbed by all life fluctuates from year to year, the figure must be calibrated based on known fluctuation.
In only a few cases, direct information on the date of writing was found in the scrolls.
In all other cases, the dating is based on indirect archaeological and paleographical evidence.
There was also a historical test of a piece of linen performed in 1950 by Willard Libby, the inventor of the dating method.
Carbon-14 dating can be used on objects ranging from a few hundred years old to 50,000 years old.
Libby and others (University of Chicago) devised a method of estimating the age of organic material based on the decay rate of carbon-14.
The Dead Sea Scrolls are comprised of the remains of approximately 825 to 870 separate scrolls, represented by tens of thousands of fragments.
The texts are most commonly made of animal skins, but also papyrus and one of copper.