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But the tree ring record goes no further, so scientists have sought other indicators of age against which carbon dates can be compared.One such indicator is the uranium-thorium dating method used by the Lamont-Doherty group.A comparison of radiocarbon ages across the Northern Hemisphere suggests we might have been a little too hasty in assuming how the isotope - also known as radiocarbon - diffuses, potentially shaking up controversial conversations on the timing of events in history.By measuring the amount of carbon-14 in the annual growth rings of trees grown in southern Jordan, researchers have found some dating calculations on events in the Middle East – or, more accurately, the Levant – could be out by nearly 20 years.One of the most important dating tools used in archaeology may sometimes give misleading data, new study shows - and it could change whole historical timelines as a result.The discrepancy is due to significant fluctuations in the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere, and it could force scientists to rethink how they use ancient organic remains to measure the passing of time.But when a plant or animal dies, it can no longer accumulate fresh carbon 14, and the supply in the organism at the time of death is gradually depleted.

Just a few decades of difference could help resolve an ongoing debate over the extent of Solomon's biblical kingdom, making findings like these more than a minor quibble in a politically contested part of the world."Our work indicates that it's arguable their fundamental basis is faulty – they are using a calibration curve that is not accurate for this region," says Manning.This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996.To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them.It is too soon to know whether the discovery will seriously upset the estimated dates of events like the arrival of human beings in the Western Hemisphere, scientists said.But it is already clear that the carbon method of dating will have to be recalibrated and corrected in some cases.

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  1. Since the abolishment of laws banning interracial marriages in the late 1960’s, society has embraced interracial marriage disregarding racial and cultural differences in the process....