Dating in egypt
By measuring how much C14 remains in a sample of organic material, we can estimate its age within a range of dates.
Samples older than 50,000 to 60,000 years are not useful for radiocarbon testing because by then, the amount of C14 remaining is too small to be dated.
But material from the time of the pyramids lends itself well to radiocarbon dating because they fall into the 2575-1640 date range.
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.
We also have fair agreement between our radiocarbon dates and historical dates for the Middle Kingdom.
Eight calibrated dates on straw from the pyramid of Senwosret II (1897-1878 BC) ranged from 103 years older to 78 years younger than the historical dates for his reign.
We have fair agreement for the 1st Dynasty tombs at North Saqqara between our historical dates, previous radiocarbon dates, and our radiocarbon dates on reed material.
We focused our collection efforts on tiny pieces of these materials, along with reed and straw left by the ancient builders.