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Some of this recycled wood was burned, for example, in mortar preparation.
If a piece of wood was already centuries old when it was burned, radiocarbon dates of the resulting charcoal would be centuries older than the mortar for which it was burned.
One radioactive, or unstable, carbon isotope is C14, which decays over time and therefore provides scientists with a kind of clock for measuring the age of organic material.In spite of this discrepancy, the radiocarbon dates confirmed that the Great Pyramid belonged to the historical era studied by Egyptologists. Koch Foundation supported us for another round of radiocarbon dating.We broadened our sampling to include material from: We also took samples from our Giza Plateau Mapping Project Lost City excavations (4th Dynasty), where we discovered two largely intact bakeries in 1991.The number of dates from the two projects was only large enough to allow for statistical comparisons for the pyramids of Djoser, Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure. First, there are significant discrepancies between the 19 dates for Khufu and Khafre, but not for Djoser and Menkaure.Second, the 1995 dates vary widely even for a single monument.
Ancient baking left deposits of ash and charcoal, which are very useful for dating.