The Definitive Shroud of Turin FAQ

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Don't anomalies in carbon dating sometimes occur?

Archeologists and historians, who regularly use carbon dating to measure the age of objects, know only too well how anomalous radiocarbon dating results can be. Carbon dating is best used for testing organic archeological finds that have been undisturbed and protected from the environment. It is important, as well, to obtain multiple samples at different places on an object and then use statistical methods determine a reasonable range of ages.  Yet, even with ideal conditions, carbon-dating results can be highly erroneous or unexpected.

Tests on an Egyptian mummy in the Manchester Museum revealed that the linen wrappings were 800 to 1000 years "newer" than the body.

Other mummy samples, including Ibis mummies, have demonstrated this same peculiarity with cloth wrappings seemingly being newer than the bodies they contain. This could only make sense if the mummies had been rewrapped hundreds of years later. Egyptologist speculate that that this might be so for some mummies, but not so for others. 

Sometimes, erroneous results in Carbon dating remain inexplicable. In most cases, however, adequate reasons for improbable dates are discovered. Contamination, not properly cleaned from samples, can seriously affect results. Similarly, material intrusion of newer or older substance is introduced into samples, as was the case with the caribou bones that had absorbed chemically rich ground water.


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