At the Laboratory, aside from modern and background standards, routine in-house measurements are also made on standards of like composition and age to the sample being dated.
Introduction The first request for the application of up-to-date AMS carbon dating on Qumran documents was made by Professors Robert Eisenman of California State University Long Beach and Philip Davies of the University of Sheffield, England in a letter to Amir Drori, then Head of the Israeli Antiquities Authority, on May 2, 1989.
Working with several collaboraters, Libby established the natural occurrence of radiocarbon by detecting its radioactivity in methane from the Baltimore sewer.
In contrast, methane made from petroleum products had no measurable radioactivity.
Changes in atmospheric CO clearly must be explained by repartitioning of carbon among these three reservoirs.
The letter stemmed from their frustration at the denial of an earlier request in March 16, 1989 , addressed to John Strugnell and copied to Mr.
Drori, to gain access to the Qumran parallels to the famous Damascus Document (CD) and the general situation denying access to unpublished Qumran materials to scholars not part of the "International Team or those favored for some reason by it.
However, scientists do not yet fully understand the fundamental processes controlling this carbon “cycle”.
More research is necessary to explain past changes in COC produced by atmospheric weapons testing (between 19), as it dissolves in surface oceans and is taken up and respired by land plants can be traced.
One was that the new methods of dating materials should be applied to determine relative not absolute chronology, that is, earlier versus later in the same test run -- absolute chronology in their view being virtually impossible to determine because of the multiple imprecisions to which C14 testing was subject.
To put this in another way, they framed their request in this manner because they did not believe that anything conclusive regarding the absolute dating of the Scrolls could be achieved with a technique as subject to multiple imprecisions as carbon testing was.
During the lifetime of an organism, the amount of c14 in the tissues remains at an equilibrium since the loss (through radioactive decay) is balanced by the gain (through uptake via photosynthesis or consumption of organically fixed carbon).
However, when the organism dies, the amount of c14 declines such that the longer the time since death the lower the levels of c14 in organic tissue.
The ensuing atomic interactions create a steady supply of c14 that rapidly diffuses throughout the atmosphere.
Plants take up c14 along with other carbon isotopes during photosynthesis in the proportions that occur in the atmosphere; animals acquire c14 by eating the plants (or other animals).