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Now there are some samples taken from ancient men’s houses and hearths that, according to the radiocarbon dates, are more than 6,000 years old.

Such findings conflict with the Bible chronology, according to which the first man was created only 6,000 years ago. Has the increased refinement and apparent success of the radiocarbon clock made the Bible chronology obsolete?

Conflicting results, which sometimes came out of different laboratories, have largely been reconciled.

But the practical archaeologist has learned what to do about it when a sample comes back from the laboratory with a date different from what he expected. Evzen Neustupný, of the Archaeological Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, told the symposium: “Contamination of samples by either modern or ancient carbon can often be clearly discerned if the result of a measurement deviates considerably from the expected value.” To paraphrase his words, he does not recognize the contamination of the sample before he sends it in, but when he looks at it again, with the unpalatable answer attached, he can see clearly that it was contaminated.Archaeologists are keenly interested in the results of such dating, because they study ancient men and their works.Bible students too have been interested in radiocarbon dating, because its range overlaps the 6,000-year history of man recorded in the Bible.The Radiocarbon Clock Gets a Checkup AMONG the scientific tools devised to help to satisfy man’s curiosity about his past, none is better known than the radiocarbon clock.This method of dating organic material in ancient artifacts is based on measurement of the radioactive carbon that is formed by cosmic rays in the atmosphere and taken up by plant life.

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