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Radiocarbon dating, which is used to calculate the age of certain organic materials, has been found to be unreliable, and sometimes wildly so - a discovery that could upset previous studies on climate change, scientists from China and Germany said in a new paper.
Their recent analysis of sediment from the largest freshwater lake in northeast China showed that its carbon clock stopped ticking as early as 30,000 years ago, or nearly half as long as was hitherto thought.
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By developing techniques that strip ancient samples of impurities, he and his team have established more accurate ages for the remains from dozens of archaeological sites.
Since the ongoing debate on this matter is relevant to questions of the veracity of the Bible, the historical background of the debate and its three principal protagonists follows.
The article on British archaeologist John Garstang shows that he dated the destruction of Jericho City IV (the city level associated with Joshua) to the end of the 15th century BC on historical and archaeological grounds.
One place where Garstang was shown to be in error was his dating of a double city wall to the same time as Jericho City IV.
The later work of Kathleen Kenyon showed that this double wall dated from a time some 1,000 years earlier.