Results 1 to 2 of 2

Thread: Earliest Writing From Carbon Dating

  1. #1 Earliest Writing From Carbon Dating 
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Ancient writing has been carbon dated from 3200 BC to possibly 6600 BC.
    (from BBC News, 1999)
    'Earliest writing' found
    "Clay tablets containing primitive words were uncovered in southern Egypt at the tomb of a king named Scorpion.
    They were carbon-dated to 3300-3200 BC. This is about the same time, or slightly earlier, to the primitive writing developed by the Sumerians of the Mesopotamian civilisation around 3100 BC."

    (From BBC News 2003)
    'Earliest writing' found in China
    "Signs carved into 8,600-year-old tortoise shells found in China may be the earliest written words, say archaeologists." ...."The site has been radiocarbon dated to between 6,600 and 6,200 BC."

    Now, what I am curious about is; How can you tell how old the writing itself is. In other words, lets say you find some material (bone, ivory, tortoise shell) that is 8,000 years old. Lets say, that about 4,000 years ago, when that material was 4,000 years old, an ancient writer also came across it, and decided it would be a good piece of material to write on.
    Skip forward to the present day, and the material is carbon dated. Will the writing be considered to be as old as the 8,000 year old material or is there a way to tell how long ago the writing was added to the material?


    Reply With Quote  


  3. #2  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    South Africa
    If some kind of paint or ink is used, they can carbon date that and determine when the writing was done, provided the paint was of organic origin. Otherwise, as with the shell in China, they date the surrounding site and so infer the approximate date of the writing itself. As far as I know.

    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
    Reply With Quote  

Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts