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0px}li.li14 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px ‘Trebuchet MS’; color: #000000; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000}span.s1 {font-kerning: none}span.

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0px ‘Helvetica Neue’; font-kerning: none}span.s6 {font: 12.0px Arial; font-kerning: none}span.Apple-tab-span {white-space:pre}ul.ul1 {list-style-type: disc}Name: Sofie Toft Krogh Oslo International Scool/ Pre-Ib A 14/12/2017 13:11 Research Question To what extent can radiocarbon dating be used to verify and affect the value of historical artefacts.Table of ContentsIntroduction 2Argument 1 3Argument 2 4Argument 3 5Conclusion 6Bibliography  8Reflection 10Introduction  Radiocarbon dating is vital when studying historical artefacts that have value to ancient societies, climates and artists. Artefacts that have cultural value can tell present day historians about religions and traditions of ancient societies and in what way their culture has influenced societies today and human or animal remains lying in unusual locations can tell climatologists about the climate in that area of the time of death as well as predict further climate pattern in the future. Radiocarbon dating is a historic dating method that is used to determined the age of ancient artefacts.

The method was pioneered by Willard F Libby in the 1950’s, and today is the most widely used method of age estimation in archaeology. How it works is that some elements have multiple isotopes. Carbon has three main isotopes, carbon-12, carbon-13 and carbon-14. Carbon-14 is radioactive and therefore is used to measure age. Radioactive atoms decay into stable atoms by a simple mathematical process. By a certain amount of time, half of the available atom will decay, this is called a half-life.

For examples, 800 atoms in the year 2000 has a half-life of 50 years, in 2050 there would be 400 atoms left. In 2100 there would be 200 left, and in 2150 there would be 100 left. By measuring the level of carbon-14 atoms in an object, researchers can mathematically work out the approximate age of the object or when it died.

The half-life of carbon-17 is 5,730 years. The level of carbon-14 in an organic object is usually known, therefore with a mathematic process the age of the object is easily calculated. Radiocarbon dating is relatively accurate, however can not be used for objects older that 50,000 years due to the level of carbon being so minimal.

Additionally, radiocarbon dating can only be done on organic materials, such as plant fibres or tissues from living organisms due to nonorganic objects like rocks, are not able to consume any carbon-14 and therefore does not contain the correct level of carbon-14. All living organisms are in a dynamic equilibrium with their environment and therefore can be dated.Argument 1 Radiocarbon dating is used for verifying paintings and detecting forgeries, therefore is mostly used to decrease the value. Paintings included organic materials such as tempera pigments which is made from egg, oil pigments, compels synthetic pigments, wood and paper, therefore it can be carbon dated. The famous  Guggenheim painting ‘Contraste de formes’, attributed to French Cubist Fernard Léger has recently been confirmed it to be forged. First the painting underwent tests based on techniques including X-ray radiography and scanning electron microscope and energy dispersive X-Ray spectrometry however they proved to be unsuccessful as no concluding evidence was found.

Due to the insufficient data provided by the X-ray, another method of detecting forged art was required. The analysis was then performed using an Accelerator mass spectrometry, a carbon-14 scanner. The ASM measured the carbon-14 in the fabric in order to determine when the cotton was cut to make the canvas. Faint signatures of Cold War era radioactivity from nuclear bombs was found in the canvas. Therefore, revealed that the canvas contained a level of radioactive carbon found in 1959, meaning it was created after Léger’s death in 1955.  A common way of detecting forged works is by dating white paints, for example Han Van Meegeren’s forged artworks.

The paint which Van Meegeren used did not contain the right type of carbon. Both old and modern white paint is pigmented with white lead. Old lead paints were made of old plant sourced which gave off old carbon dioxide meaning they contained a reasonable high amount of carbon-14. Whereas modern white lead paint are made using fossil fuels where the amount of carbon-14 has mostly decayed. Thus concluding that radiocarbon dating generally decreases the value of famous artworks, removing forgeries from the gallery market.

Argument 2 Similarly to forged artwork, carbon dating can be used to verify certain religious artefacts which could either increase the value or decrease the value, depending on the significance of the artefact. The Shroud of Turin is the cloth that Jesus Christ was allegedly wrapped and buried in after his crucification. The Shroud gained popularity around the world after photographer Secondo Pia took a photograph of the cloth in 1898 which revealed details not seen previously by the naked eye.

In 1988 the laboratory of Oxford, Zurich and Tucson were allowed by the Vatican State to take samples of the Shroud. The laboratories were given scraps of linen from the cloth which is made of plant fibres, then analysed using carbon dating. The laboratory was additionally given 3 controlled samples; a fragment of weave from 1100CE found in an ancient Egyptian tomb, A part of a mummy bandage carbon dated to 200CE and a sample of Louis XI of France’s cloak woven around 1250. The shroud dated from between 1260 to 1390, around 758 to 628 years ago. Meaning that the data contradicts the catholic community’s theory and therefore decreases the cultural value leaving to objections being raised immediately.

Due to these objections a new study was carried out a few years later. The study claims that the violent earthquake in Jerusalem that took place in 33AD may have interfered with the results. The Italian team which carried out the study believes that an 8.2 earthquake on the Richter scale could have released neutron particles from crushed rocks meaning that the radiation emissions would have increased the level of carbon-14 in the cloth resulting in it appearing younger.

An example of how carbon dating increases the value of religious artefacts is the Dead Sea scrolls. The Dead Sea scrolls are a collection of ancient texts known to be the eldest forms of biblical manuscripts ever found. The scrolls were found in caves along the North-West shores of the Dead Sea, more specifically, in Khirbet Qumran, between 1947 and 1956. Around the time the scrolls were first discovered, radiocarbon dating was still developing. That meant that radiocarbon dating needed a large amount of disposable material in order to date the artefact. Therefore, related material from the Qumran site had to be dated instead in order to not destroy the actual scrolls. However, a little more than 30 years later it was finally possible to date material directly from the scrolls using an accelerator mass spectrometry. The scrolls had been dated back to around 2,000 years ago.

The samples that were tested were parchment, papyrus and linen. Strangely, the parchment was dated to be 350 years younger than the papyrus and the linen due to samples of caster oil and rice paper found on the parchment material. Both the caster oil and the rice paper contain modern carbon, meaning the parchment appears younger. How the oil and the rice paper got onto the parchment is unknown. Due to the age of the scrolls some argue that these scrolls are of very high value and verify the accuracy of the bible. Claims have been made that the masoretic text and the Dead Sea scrolls have a word-for-word match of 95%.

This rate is abnormally high considering they have been created 1,000 years apart and during this time in order to make a new bible one had to manually copy it from another, naturally altering the texts. Therefore, some argue that the Dead Sea scrolls validates the Masoretic Text which are the basis for the modern Old Testimony copies, leaving a huge impact on the religious community. Thus, carbon dating can be used to verify the creation of the religious artefacts leading to negative and positive impacts on the religious culture, the Shroud of Turin confirming the invalidity of cloth and the evidence of Jesus Christ existing and the validity of the Bible. Argument 3 Radiocarbon dating human remains are crucial when analysing the history of certain cultures, societies and climates in the past. On September 19th, 1991 two mountain hikers found a dried up body hidden underneath rocks in the high altitudes of the Ötzel Alps in Austria. Due to the location of the body, it was later nicknames Ötzi the Iceman.

When first analysed it was estimated that the body was around 500 years old, though this theory was quickly proven wrong by the AMS laboratories in Zurich and Oxford after carbon-14 measurements were taken and analysed. The measurements were made on the bone and the skin tissue of the body which contains carbon-14 due to the nutritions that the human consumed when alive.The results established that Ötzi lived before the Bronze Age, at the end of the Neolithic era. However, the body was not the only artefact that was carbonated. Certain species of grasses were found near the body, Poa alpina and Poa laxa.

These grasses grow at high altitudes, around 3000 to 3100 meters above sea levels. However, the body was found at 3210 meters. This is valuable as it tells climatologists how the climate was around Ötzi’s time of death. Due to the ancient traveler having access to the high altitudes as well as the grass being able to grow in such high altitudes, it implies that the climate was warmer and not covered in snow and glacier as it is today, this information could potentially help to analyse further climate changes in the future.

 Conclusion In conclusion, radiocarbon dating verifies and, to a certain extent, increases the value of religious relics, climate research and historic paintings by confirming the age of the artefact. Additionally, radiocarbon dating decreases the values of religious artefacts and artworks due to the later creation of the works. In conclusion, radiocarbon dating verifies: religious, climate and forgery suspicions, However this can result in an increase of value, for example: forged paintings and for the Shroud of Turin May result in an increase of values for example: dead seas scrolls, Ötzi the iceman and the Chachapoya society. This means that radiocarbon dating can further be used as a tool in the future, for dating artefacts and confirming their validation.