Carbon dating the dead sea scrolls dating site on frensh
The groups that oversaw the two recent rounds of AMS C14 used the inexact pre-1998 dating curve in calculating these sigmas.
In addition, they presented the time range arrived at by prior paleographic analysis -- analysis that was begun primarily by Frank Moore Cross and Josef Milik, but was now being carried forward by their inheritors, like Emmanuel Tov, Geza Vermes, James Vander Kam, Lawrence Schiffman, Emil Puech, and others.
Not incuriously, these were the same laboratories that had previously been selected for the C 14 testing of the Holy Shroud of Turin.
However these things may be, following the tests, the group controlling the process was governed by the belief that the C14 results -- which were on the whole inconclusive or to use the words of BARs reportage skewed -- in some manner confirmed the accuracy of the results arrived at by those basing their chronological determinations on paleography.
This was clear not only from the two articles drafted after both runs, but also in press releases and interviews accompanying the announcements of the results in which the personal bitterness that has characterized the debate from the beginning was so evident.
3) The results did not rule out the various opposition theories of the kind put forth by scholars like Robert Eisenman, Norman Golb, Cecil Roth, G. Driver, Joel Teicher, Barbara Thiering, and John Allegro, but actually supported such theories in that they carried the dates of many of the sectarian or extra-biblical scrolls well into the first century CE, contemporaneous with movements such as that those called Zealot or Sicarii and the rise of early or at least proto-Christianity in Palestine.
Despite the heavy public relation blitz claiming the opposite, in fact the theories of these opposition scholars were in better alignment with the actual results of the tests than those of establishment scholars such as Roland de Vaux, John Strugnell, Josef Milik, F. Cross, Geza Vermes, Lawrence Schiffman, Emmanuel Tov, James Vander Kam, Emile Puech, F. In our judgment the group that drew the conclusions given in the several press releases above was simply biased ab initio and was confirming its own theories with its interpretations of the results.
In the first place, radiocarbon dating is only able to give approximate dates and its results, therefore, are given in units of mean and standard deviations -- known as sigmas -- that represent the statistical range in which the mean date may fall.