Sunday, August 4, 2013

What Can We Tell from Radiocarbon Dates?

One of the interesting things we find in archaeology is the bandying about of radiocarbon dates, that is, the carbon-14 dating of artifacts, buildings, and sites, as though they are sacrosanct and are intrinsically correct. Yet, some dates exceed the level of credibility, others suggest dates of man’s accomplishments beyond anything ever recorded by man. Because most scientists play with an unending canvas, they can make claims that are so beyond the range of possibility that it staggers the mind. Scientists claim that intelligent man has been on the earth for over 250,000 years, yet recorded history stretches back only about 6,000 years—before that, the canvas of any recorded history is absolutely blank!
Yet, without any qualms on the matter, scientists claim that radiocarbon dating can estimate the age of wood and leather up to about 58,000 to 62,000 years, with the oldest radiocarbon age of 14,190 years ago (plus or minus 120 years) recorded. Other sources claim that the radiocarbon dating is applicable to the last 40,000 to 50,000 years; however, a calibration curve of Dendrochronology (tree ring dating) is limiting radiocarbon dating to 11,450 years since a continuous tree ring chronology older than that is lacking. While this sounds a little conflicting, rest assured that scientists know exactly what they are talking about, or so they claim.
Left: The tree rings are counted on this tree back to 1527; however, (Right) it is not as easy as it sometimes appears. In addition, tree rings are used to verify carbon dating, which is used to verify tree ring dating
As has been reported here many times, the inventor of the C-14 time clock, Dr. Willard Libby, as early as 1949, was surprised that his clock findings showed nothing older than 5,000 years. As a result, however, he decided to recalibrate his clock “since everyone knew the earth was older than that.” So instead of showing the earth was about 12,000 or 13,000 years old as his clock verified, he opted for a much older, unknown figure and changed the calibration by which his clock worked.
However, having said all that, radiocarbon dating can still be considered useful if we forget the actual dates and use the dating system in a comparative manner. That is, if radiocarbon dates show one archaeological site as being 6000 years old, and another site as being 3000 years old, we can safely surmise that the one site is older than the other, though we do not know exactly how long ago the sites existed. In this example, we can determine that the first site has existed about twice as long as the second site. More than that, radiocarbon dating is suspect. Yet, this can be helpful in determining, as an example, which site between Mesoamerica and Andean South America, is the oldest and which was settled first.
Stated differently, when Mesoamerican Theorists claim that Lehi came to Central America, and that the Western Hemisphere was reserved for Lehi and his posterity, and find that Andean South America was settled before Mesoamerica, we can discount any claim that Lehi landed in Central America.
The Mayan pyramid in Tikal, Guatemala, is claimed to have been built in the 4th century B.C., however, its prominence is dated in the Classic Period, 200 to 900 A.D.
Of 48 dated pyramid structures of ancient Mesoamerica, only four are considered to be before the time of Christ, or what is called the pre-classic period (2000 B.C. to 200 A.D.): 1) La Venta, Mexico (possibly 1200 B.C.); 2) Caracol, Belize (about 900 B.C.); 3) Lamanai, Belize, and 4) Xochitecatl, Mexico. Three others overlap a lesser B.C. period: Comalcalco, Mexico – 600 B.C., El Mirador, Guatemala – 300 B.C., Palenque, Mexico – 226 B.C.
In addition, one has to be careful how they understand dates that are bandied about by archaeologists. As an example, Caracol in Belize, shows an early date of 1200 B.C., with some claiming as early as 1600 B.C.; however, the earliest known habitation took place between 900 and 600 B.C., yet the first actual structure, the “Temple of the Wooden Lintel,” is not dated before 70 A.D., and the peak period with pyramids, tombs and inscriptions is not dated until 250 A.D. The first Royal Dynasty of Caracol was not officially founded until 331 A.D. From this point on, numerous events are dated, with the last recorded date at Caracol on Stela 10 dated to 859 A.D., and the site totally abandoned by 1050 A.D. Consequently, it is misleading to quote any date prior to the A.D. period with any actual accuracy.
Archaeologists study a monumental stone head discovered at the La Venta site in Tabasco State, Mexico
At the same time, the San Lorenzo Monument 1, the sculptured head known as El Rey, is dated between 1200 and 900 B.C., which is the earliest structure (hard evidence) known of the Olmec, yet archaeologists insist that the Olmec began between 1500 and 1400 B.C. On the other hand, San Lorenzo, the oldest site known of the Olmec in Mesoamerica, is claimed to have begun around 1150 B.C., with the first actual evidence being the monumental stone sculptures, said to date about 1000 B.C. In other words, no two reports agree with any start date.
On the other hand, archaeologists in Peru have discovered a temple in Lima that dates to 3000 B.C., potentially making it older than Stonehenge. This means that San Martin de Porres in Peru is twice as old as Mesoamerica’s oldest structure. In addition the El Paraiso site is dated to 2000 B.C., 400 years older than the oldest Mesoamerican site, and depending on which dates are used for Tiahuanaco (Tiwanaku) and Puma Punku in western Bolivia, they, too, are close to twice the age of La Venta in Mexico. While only 7 sites in Mesoamerica predate the time of Christ, all sites in Andean South America are dated to B.C. times.
The newest find in Andean South America, a 5000-year-old structure San Martin de Porres, discovered at El Paraiso, Peru. There are considered to be 10 to 15 pyramidal structures in this complex, dating back to at least 3000 B.C.
This new temple discovered at the El Paraiso complex is now known as the largest and earliest example of monumental architecture in the New World. Also close to that age (2000 B.C.) are the ruins of Puma Punku and Tiwanaku in western Bolivia, just south of Lake Titicaca along the Peruvian border.
The point of all this is not the B.C. date, for those figures are far from accurate when it comes to radiocarbon dating; however, the important thing is that 3000 B.C. (El Paraiso, Peru) is much older than 1200 B.C. (La Venta, Mexico), which should suggest to all that Andean South America was settled long before Mesoamerica.

No comments:

Post a Comment