Volume 1, Issue 15
November 27,  2011
Dating the ancient world




In last week's newsletter I wrote about the 'light from Woolley's Ur,' an insight so powerful that it must rewrite what is now understood as the early history of man. It comes from understanding that the great number of elaborate burials from the ancient world that are currently explained as inspired by religious beliefs cannot possibly have been ordinary burials. They can only be explained as remains of those who perished in the Flood. But there appears a problem. These burials have been dated from the earliest Ice Age (e.g. the Neanderthals) to after the time of Christ (e.g. the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings in the American Southwest)! If true, they span a million years whereas the Bible allows an era of man before the Flood of less than two thousand years. Can published dates for so many ancient sites possibly be that wrong? 
When it comes to the antiquity of human remains, we think of radiocarbon dating, but that is not in fact responsible for the widely varying dates among those sites that I attribute to the Flood. The relative antiquity of these remains were established prior to radiocarbon dating. Radiocarbon should have made clear that these burials in fact date to the time of Noah's Flood. I am a believer in radiocarbon dating, even using it to date the Flood. The calibrated radiocarbon dating of the Flood that I discover matches the biblical date of the Flood and is in line with the radiocarbon date published for NAMI's discovery that appears to be Noah's Ark.
The last radiocarbon dating has been disputed in two recently published reviews of NAMI's discovery: one by a prominent Creationist geologist and another by a Harvard-trained archaeologist. The Creationist, Andrew Snelling, disagrees that NAMI's discovery can be Noah's Ark because he supposes that radiocarbon must date wood from that vessel from 20,000-50,000 years! You have a right to be confused by the fact that the major Creationists organizations are disputing NAMI's discovery due to the fact that radiocarbon dates it in line with the biblical date of Noah's Flood!
Dr. Joel Klenk, Director of the Paleontological Research Corporation who claims to have actually surveyed the site of NAMI's discovery and is more familiar with the archaeology also believes the radiocarbon dating to be wrong, but assigns the artifact to the Late Epipaleolithic Period (13,100--9,600BC). Klenck acknowledges that some pottery found in the vessel comes from the Chalcholithic (5800-3000BC) and Bronze (3000-1,200BC) Ages, but sees it as having been taken there by later pilgrims. He also tells us about finding vessels made of skin, but why would pilgrims lug heavy stone pottery far up the mountain to this difficult to reach site?
A problem with radiocarbon dating, and not just from Creationists, is that radiocarbon dates are affirmed only when one agrees with them. A popular saying among archaeologists is that radiocarbon dates that support one's interpretation are published, conflicting dates that can be explained away are footnoted, but those that refute one's view are just ignored. This is but one reason why radiocarbon dating has yet to correct the problems in archaeology that mask the revelation of Noah's Flood.
Radiocarbon dating concerns absolute dating, but the greater problem lies in relative dating. Relative dating is supposed to come from strata wherein types indicating recent remains appear above those that are older. That is just theory. In fact, relative dating is more determined by one's view of the past. In the case of the Creationists, all the remains of man are presumed from after the Flood, allowing them to explain the deeper lying fossils, coal, oil, and gas as due to Noah's Flood. If radiocarbon shows the remains of man to be older than the biblical date of the Flood, they declare that the problem has to be with the radiocarbon dating. Creationists are more open in their objections to radiocarbon dating, but they are not alone in refusing to allow radiocarbon dating to change their picture of early man.
Consider the view of early man currently used in mainline science. Man is supposed to have originated during the Ice Age, spending a million years or so hunting large animals like mammoths with a series of various kinds of axes and spears. This is called the Paleolithic (Old Stone Age). At the end of the Ice Age, about 12,000 years ago, he suddenly becomes creative: hunting smaller animals with better made tools (marking his transition to the Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age), inventing agriculture, domesticating animals, making polished tools (marking his transition to the Neolithic or New Stone Age), inventing pottery, and eventually making tools from metal, marking his transition to the Calcholithic (Copper and Stone) and Bronze Ages. Informing this picture is a view (or dogma) called uni-linear evolution, always upward progress in man's material development. 
No one should suppose that these ages were determined by the finely-polished tools marking the Neolithic being consistently found above the unpolished axes of the Paleolithic, with metal tools being found at even higher levels. At the time these ages were established, natives around the face of the earth still using technologies no better fashioned than those of the Old Stone Age. They were also using them in places where existed ancient remains of man with better made stone and even metal tools. In the 19th century, some tribes still fed themselves by hunting and gathering. What this suggests is that most of the Paleolithic, Neolithic, and Bronze Age sites might be from the same antediluvian era that lasted for less than two thousand years.
Most everyone, including the Bible, agrees that man used stone tools before he invented copper and bronze with iron tools coming even later. Where the Bible disagrees with the evolutionists is in the development of agriculture vis a vis hunter-gatherers. Agriculture comes immediately after the Lord expelled man from the Garden of Eden. But evolutionists insist that man subsisted on hunting for a million years before inventing agriculture. They no more allow radiocarbon dates to change their view than do the Creationists. 
As I have already explained, early in the nineteenth century, geologists and archaeologists at the world's top universities had identified the remains from Noah's Flood, even calling them diluvian deposits due to the fact that these deep deposits had no strata. Dirt, sand, bones, and great scratched stones that had been lifted and moved were mixed as if deposited by a great Flood. To avoid the Bible and the Flood, they preferred seeing them as due to a great Ice Age, the earth covered by great heights of frozen instead of liquid water. The same kind of deposits but with smaller and different animals were found in the tropics. Due to the fact that these diluvian deposits contained what were seen as extinct animals, large species of elephants, tigers, hippopotamus, hyenas that no longer roam Europe, they did not for philosophical reasons want to see them from the era of man.
In fact human artifacts and bones were found with these now extinct animals. This fact was used to first prove the antiquity of man, after first declaring the diluvial deposits to have been deposited over a long Ice Age. The presence of human remains in such excellent condition should rather have shown the brevity and recency of what had only recently been declared as an Ice Age. In fact, those mounds covering Neolithic and Bronze Age burials of Europe's first agriculturalists are no different from the deposits marking the Ice Age. Archaeologists cannot accept this because European farmers cannot be growing crops when their continent is covered with ice! 
We should have expected radiocarbon dating to have affected a revolution in the view of early man that had been determined by highly subjective and unreasonable assumptions. Hardly the revolution that some have claimed, radiocarbon dating amounted to shifting back the absolute dates within this general picture, creating arguments over whether agriculture in Europe and America derived, as is certainly the case, from the Near East. For reasons I explain below, it didn't even affect the 12,000 year date for the end of the Ice Age! If radiocarbon dates from individual sites are not line with this general picture, they are apt for that same reason to be rejected. That is however understandable - unless one has a better alternative to understand early man's history. Without understanding the ancient world in the light of its destruction by Noah's Flood, as is now possible, probably no alternative picture is better than the one now being used. 
Best regards,


Philip Williams
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In this issue
Dating the ancient world
Radiocarbon cautions
Dating the end of the Ice Age
Tree-ring dating
Radiocarbon cautions
Despite its potential, published dates lack expert supervision.
Göbekli Tepe
Göbekli Tepe: world's oldest temple?


Regardless my regard - I should probably say my hopes - for radiocarbon dating, no one should suppose that I trust the radiocarbon dates now being used to established the antiquity of the "world's earliest" or "world's first" this or that as we constantly hear via the popular media. Archaeologists are often tempted to make such claims because they bring attention and funding, which they badly need. Sadly, promoters of unfounded claims gain influence with a new, less skeptical generation of archaeologists.


I suppose there are archaeologists that understand radiocarbon dating, but it is clear that few of them read, or probably can even understand the articles published in the journal Radiocarbon. As in so many other areas of science, the problems are hidden in technical gobbledegook. Scientists who date things also need funding. They are not inclined to trumpet problems that might discourage clients. Were I not long accustomed to digging into one scientific specialty after another, I would likewise be intimidated rather than being the intimidator simply for asking obvious and important questions.


One widely overlooked problem comes from dating coastal sites, or places where humans and animals obtain a significant portion of their diet from the sea. The carbon that comes from the sea is largely depleted of Carbon 14, thus always giving ages that are far too old. Consider how many of the "earliest" sites of mankind's presence happen to be along coasts. These "oldest" sites determine man's antiquity.


An even greater problem is use of old carbon to date sites. The paintings of extinct animals on the walls of caves in Altamira, Spain and Lascaux, France likely date to the same period as similar paintings in Germany, about 5000 BC, just prior to the Flood. Radiocarbon has dated them from 17,000-35,000 BC. That is how we got the dating for Cro-Magnon man. The dates came from soot on the paintings and walls. Probably what was actually dated was the smoke from the lamps of those who first discovered them.


Another thing keeping claims for the oldest this or that alive, regardless of evidence, is that it is a matter of both local and national pride in being the home of the first or oldest this or that. The antiquities authorities that control access to archaeological excavation are branches of national governments, while local tourism also depends on these claims. None of this means that there are not some claims that are truly authentic.


Eastern Turkey has lots of famous archaeological sites. It is the home of Mount Ararat and may contain the well-preserved temporary home of the ancestors of us all. The astonishing lack of attention to this truly important discovery in the mainstream media contrasts with the attention recently given another site in eastern Turkey that shows evidence of having been destroyed by a great flood. But the chief reason for the attention given to Göbekli Tepe (above) is due to the claim that it is the world's first and oldest temple.
The archaeologist in charge of this site points to there being numerous nearby structures that are covered even deeper. All these structures were indeed buried by the rocky soil that one sees in the photo having been swept over them by Noah's Flood. This particular site is exposed due to it being on a slight hill and therefore getting less cover, as we should expect from the actions of Noah's Flood. As explained in my last newsletter, similar sites exist all over the world. The Near East has more because it was then the most populated part of the earth. The Flood occurred less than 5000 years ago. How was this site dated to 12,000 years ago? 


Due to a notable biblical archaeologist who wanted to interest me in this site, I took the time to check how it was dated. I was suspicious due to the fact that I doubted whether recognizable organic remains could last that long. Unlike what has been found on Mt. Ararat, this site was not frozen. I discovered that the site was dated from organic debris in soil found on its pillars. Since fires have been creating enduring charcoal for as long as trees have been on the earth, one should be able to find plenty to date wherever on earth there have been trees. You could do the same type of dating of soil clinging to the foundation or your own house. Using the same reasoning, many of you will be able to claim the house in which you live as the being world's oldest.
End of the Ice Age 
How it was dated to about 12,000 years, and why didn't radiocarbon dating change it?
Niagra Falls
Eroding Niagra Falls
What is reckoned as the last Ice Age is supposed to have ended about 12,000 years ago, but how did geologist determine that? As I have explained, what is supposed as the remains of the Ice Age was formerly reckoned as due to Noah's Flood. The 12,000 year date from the Ice Age borrowed a technique from an American geologist Robert Bakewell who discovered a clever way of dating Noah's Flood. He based it on erosion of Niagra Falls.
The famous falls had to begin its erosion just after the Flood at Lake Ontario, 7 miles away along the river. According to Bakewell's measurements, Niagra Falls was eroding from 3-5 feet per year. That put the time since Noah's flood from 7000-12,000 years. Similar measurements made at St. Anthony's Falls on the Mississippi River near Minneapolis gave a date since the Flood of 8,000 years.
Having turned the less than 2,000-year antediluvian era into a Pleistocene age of almost a million years, Charles Lyell needed a way of dating the time since that epoch. Noting that the rate of erosion could vary, he supposed what was becoming understood as the end of the Ice Age to be about 35,000 years ago. Lyell always aimed to stretch the deposit time from ancient remains, but 35,000 years was too long for those studying the beginnings of agriculture and civilization in Egypt. A 12,000 year period since the end of the Ice Age became a consensus compromise.
As I explain above, this date can and should have been checked by radiocarbon dating the remains from the diluvian or Pleistocene. They do in fact date to a time appropriate to the biblical date of the Flood. Moreover, the Great Lakes could hardly have been dug out by the retreat of an Ice Age. Glaciers on flat land melt, but they do not move as occurs in the mountains. Even Lyell could not believe that. He had them being dug out by great tidal waves from floods created by great earthquakes that periodically shifted land and sea. 
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Tree-ring dating 
And those tree-ring "calibration" tables dating back to more than ten thousand years!

Bristlecone Pine 

The bristlecone pine 


Dendrochronology, counting tree rings to determine dates, was pioneered in the first half of the twentieth century by A.E. Douglas. He used it to date those cliff dwellings in the American Southwest, like Mesa Verde in Colorado. The technique matches patterns of tree rings from living and fallen timbers. By doing so, one might obtain a continuous sequence that matches the pattern in the timbers used in these dwellings. Using the technique, he dated these dwellings to well after the time of Christ. Likely, the timbers were put there by those who re-inhabited these sites that were built before the Flood. His tree-ring dating could not have determined this since timbers from the original construction could not have survived for so long.


Tree ring patterns have been extended to check and calibrate radiocarbon dating. Calibrating dates requires dating the wood from individual rings. The technique shows that for years earlier than about 1500 BC, radiocarbon dating gives dates that are increasingly too young. This may be due to some unknown effects of Noah's Flood. If so, the portion of Carbon 14 in the atmosphere needed almost a thousand years to stabilize following Noah's Flood. One should however be skeptical of the calibration curves from so long ago.


Forests of bristlecone pines in California's White Mountains have some of the world's most ancient trees. The oldest date to around the time of the Flood. We should not be surprised by this due to the fact that floods kill trees. These trees might be used to exactly date the Flood if those rings can be accurately counted. The precision is limited by the fact that exceptional weather can create two rings in a single year. Moreover, those tiny rings are difficult to accurately count. 


Even more difficult is counting and matching the tree rings of the timbers that have been used to extend radiocarbon calibration far beyond the date of the Flood. In truth, for these ancient periods the tree ring patterns are not actually matched. What is matched are the wiggle patterns of the radiocarbon measurements, which means that we are not using the tree rings to know just how old are those trees being tested. It is either impractical or impossible to visibly match these patterns, causing the scientists to employ computers for the purpose. However convenient, that technique masks helpful human assumptions. 

NAMI's Ark documentary
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Christian Leaders & Scholars is the newsletter and publication site of Philip Ernest Williams, author of The Archaeological Evidence of Noah's Flood (2011). The site is also a ministry not only to Christian leaders and scholars but all who are interested in the more difficult issues pertaining to the Bible and its implications for science and history. (Read more)