We thought that it was unlikely that the pyramid builders consistently used centuries-old wood as fuel in preparing mortar.
The 1984 results left us with too little data to conclude that the historical chronology of the Old Kingdom was wrong by nearly 400 years, but we considered this at least a possibility.
Radiocarbon technicians prefer to test wood and wood charcoal because their high molecular weight mitigates material loss during the rigorous pretreatments required for radiocarbon testing.
The numbers of C14 atoms and non-radioactive carbon atoms remain approximately the same over time during the organism’s life.
As soon as a plant or animal dies, the carbon uptake stops.
Ancient baking left deposits of ash and charcoal, which are very useful for dating.
The 1995 set of radiocarbon dates tended to be 100 to 200 years older than the dates, which was about 200 years younger than our 1984 dates.