Egyptian chronology carbon dating
If the sequence of rings is know for a certain area it is possible to fit in all new woods found and to date them very precisely.For Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean, this method from European prehistory is currently under development in a project based at Vienna.
Artefacts often have a distinctive style or design, which developed over a period of time.With the introduction of objective quantifiable methods such as dendrochronology and Carbon-14 dating, over the past half century, European and North American archaeology have developed independent and more reliable chronologies, that often make it possible to date more precisely than in Egypt. For Egypt absolute year dates can only be established back to the beginning of the Late Period, from links to Greek chronology, and then from Assyrian king-lists and other Near Eastern sources, back to the Ramesside Period (still debated). The Egyptians dated by the year of reign of the king on the throne (for example 'year 3 of king X').If we knew the precise length of reign for every Egyptian king, chronology would be no problem.Thus, 3700 Tree-ring dating: Most trees produce a ring of new wood each year, visible as circles when looking at the cross section of a piece of wood.The annual rings vary in size, depending on the weather conditions in each region, but they are similar for all trees of the same area. The historical chronologies for dynastic Egypt are based on reign lengths inferred from written and archaeological evidence.
These floating chronologies are linked to the absolute calendar by a few ancient astronomical observations, which remain a source of debate.
We used 211 radiocarbon measurements made on samples from short-lived plants, together with a Bayesian model incorporating historical information on reign lengths, to produce a chronology for dynastic Egypt.
A small offset (19 radiocarbon years older) in radiocarbon levels in the Nile Valley is probably a growing-season effect.
Scientists have developed calibration techniques to adjust for these fluctuations.
While alive, all plants and animals take C14 into their bodies.
Inscribed objects sometimes bear an explicit date, or preserve the name of a dated individual. However, only a small number of objects are datable by inscriptions, and there are many specific problems with Egyptian chronology, so that even inscribed objects are rarely datable in absolute terms.