Moreover, as so much emphasis is put on questions of different calibration methods and different statistical manipulations, sometimes the archaeological evidence is neglected and the data are not properly presented.
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Based on the very same data, but employing different statistical methods, the various schools have reached quite diverse conclusions.
I do not mean to reject radiocarbon methodology for archaeological dating.
Since these “long-term” samples may introduce the “old wood” effect, any calculation of precise absolute dates based on “long-term” samples is unreliable and may easily lead to errors of up to several decades or even more.
For this reason, researchers prefer to use “short-life” samples, such as seeds, grain or olive pits. In many studies, particular radio-carbon dates are not considered valid because they do not match the majority of dated samples from the site in question.
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But it is much more useful regarding broader archaeological periods.
The differences in the various dates for the transition from Iron I to Iron IIa are too small to be helped much by radiocarbon dating.
Therefore a complex procedure known as calibration has been developed, which converts radiocarbon test results to calendar years by relating these results to dendrochronologically dated tree-ring samples.