14c dating problems
Regardless of the particular 14C technique used, the value of this tool for archaeology has clearly been appreciated.
Desmond Clark (1979:7) observed that without radiocarbon dating "we would still be foundering in a sea of imprecisions sometime bred of inspired guesswork but more often of imaginative speculation." And as Colin Renfrew (1973) aptly noted over 30 years ago, the "Radiocarbon Revolution" transformed how archaeologists could interpret the past and track cultural changes through a period in human history where we see among other things the massive migration of peoples settling virtually every major region of the world, the transition from hunting and gathering to more intensive forms of food production, and the rise of city-states.
If something carbon dates at 7,000 years we believe 5,000 is probably closer to reality (just before the flood).
Robert Whitelaw has done a very good job illustrating this theory using about 30,000 dates published in Radio Carbon over the last 40 years.
Example: wood found in a grave of known age by historically reliable documents is the standard for that time for the C14 content.
This is only because it is well calibrated with objects of known age.One of the impressive points Whitewall makes is the conspicuous absence of dates between 4,500 and 5,000 years ago illustrating a great catastrophe killing off plant and animal life world wide (the flood of Noah)!I hope this helps your understanding of carbon dating.The lecturer talked at length about how inaccurate C14 Dating is (as 'corrected' by dendrochronology).The methodology is quite accurate, but dendrochronology supposedly shows that the C14 dates go off because of changes in the equilibrium over time, and that the older the dates the larger the error.In fact, 14C is forming FASTER than the observed decay rate.