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Sunday, May 13, 2018

Viking Bones Fight Carbon-14

Somewhere around 873 AD, the Great Army (also called the Great Heathen Army by the English), mainly from Norway, Denmark, and Sweden commenced to do some raiding. They sure did like the British Isles for pillaging purposes, but for some reason, this army was more ambitious. Skipping ahead, a burial ground was discovered in Repton.

Carbon-14 dating of Viking bones in England yielded erroneous results
Postage stamp from the Faroe Islands depicting a Viking Ship, via Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
Carbon-14 dating results were at odds with historical eyewitness accounts, so rescuing devices (excuses) were utilized, but were not convincing in light of the evidence. This account helps illustrate how assumptions in radiometric dating can have erroneous results. It also shows how some scientists are not thorough in considering pertinent data. Further, it highlights the great but unfounded faith that some people have in such dating methods. Later, the dating was done again, taking into account certain factors that were neglected in the first place. Carbon-14 is a useful tool, but such dating methods are not exact. When done properly, carbon-14 can give approximations from which to work. Forensic evidence is not as reliable as, but can supplement, eyewitness accounts.
Radiocarbon dating is considered one of science’s tried-and-true methodologies. But could there be a forensic flaw in measuring carbon-14 dates using conventional methodology? Could dates assigned by that method be vulnerable to faulty assumptions that render them invalid?
Indeed they can. The age assignment for certain Viking bones caused a decades-long controversy until the carbon-14 methodology used to date them was recently exposed for its flawed assumptions. This case demonstrates that one-size-fits-all radiocarbon dating doesn’t work.
To read the rest, you can invade "Viking Bones Contradict Carbon-14 Assumptions".