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The recalibrated clock won’t force archaeologists to abandon old measurements wholesale, says Bronk Ramsey, but it could help to narrow the window of key events in human history.

“If you’re trying to look at archaeological sites at the order of 30,000 or 40,000 years ago, the ages may shift by only a few hundred years but that may be significant in putting them before or after changes in climate,” he says.

Since the 1960s, scientists have started accounting for the variations by calibrating the clock against the known ages of tree rings.

As a rule, carbon dates are younger than calendar dates: a bone carbon-dated to 10,000 years is around 11,000 years old, and 20,000 carbon years roughly equates to 24,000 calendar years.

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'carbon dating.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors.

Climate records from a Japanese lake are set to improve the accuracy of the dating technique, which could help to shed light on archaeological mysteries such as why Neanderthals became extinct.

“If you have a better estimate of when the last Neanderthals lived to compare to climate records in Greenland or elsewhere, then you’ll have a better idea of whether the extinction was climate driven or competition with modern humans,” says Paula Reimer, a geochronologist at Queen’s University in Belfast, UK.(2) This makes the above problem even worse, since the exaggerated 'historical' dates for early Egyptian chronology was already difficult to verify with C-14 dating. While the 'consensus' of archeological dating opinion was based on a distorted Egyptian chronology, the Biblical record had been deemed inaccurate.Now it appears some adjustments might be necessary - like revised editions of virtually every ancient history text.Ussher's date is based on calculations the Old Testament record.While the period from Creation to the flood can be taken directly from Genesis, the period from the flood to the birth of Christ is not so straightforward.

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  1. For the record, I am a single, Reform Jew who grew up in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in Pittsburgh and currently lives in Washington, D. I’m probably slightly more religious than the Jewish men Purcell described her boyfriends to be (I fast on Yom Kippur).