4) Geology: The Stones Cry Out

There are two techniques for dating in archaeological sites: relative and absolute dating.

Relative

Typological

there is no place on Earth more intensively investigated archaeologically than the Levant. As a corridor between east and west, north and south, as well as the center of gravity for three major world religions, this region has lured scholars since the 19th century. Excavations…have produced millions of artifacts, none more abundant than pottery…two centuries of discovery later, all that pottery is both an incredible resource and an enormous problem.

Pottery is a resource because it makes human behavior visible. From the earliest agricultural villages through the early modern era, people have used clay vessels for almost every sort of activity: to store, prepare, cook and serve food; to hold perfume; to ship commodities; to burn oil for light; to contain or serve as votive offerings; and to help make the dead more comfortable in the afterlife. Pottery animates the places we excavate.

Pottery also offers analytical evidence for dating, production and exchange through an array of scientific techniques, including Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis, X-Ray Fluorescence and petrographic thin-section. More than a century of continuous excavation and study have resulted in a gold-mine of data—stylistic, stratigraphic, petrographic and elemental.

So what’s the problem? In a nutshell: information overload. The potential of pottery depends on researchers being able to identify, compare and properly situate what they find—but the system for doing that is broken. Information is couched in arcane jargon, scattered across unsearchable—sometimes obscure—print publications and, increasingly, on unconnected specialist websites. This leads to research that is overly narrow, incomplete, at odds with other ideas and results…

earthenware_vessels_different_periods_2

 Earthenware vessels of different periods on display at Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum in Turkey  from archeological sites estimated to date back to about 5,000 BC

Stratigraphic chronologies

stratigraphy

From Context in Archeology – Museum of Ontario Archeology

What people discarded tells a lot about how they lived.

One of the world’s oldest landfills was recently uncovered in Jerusalem…the landfill dates to the Early Roman period (first century B.C.E.–first century C.E.). Through a systematic excavation of this landfill, Tel Aviv University archaeologist Yuval Gadot and his team have been able to shed light on Jerusalem during a particularly tumultuous chapter of its history—when Rome ruled, the Temple stood, and Jesus preached.

Textual sources recording astronomical observations, dates relating to kings and/or buildings

For as long as human beings have existed, surely no part of the natural world has been more enigmatic or influential as the movement of observable celestial objects…Eclipses, comets and meteorites were particularly mentioned by the ancient writers since their appearances were both startling and, for many, utterly unpredictable.

Comets especially were associated with portents and omens…One such event played an important role in the dying days of the Roman Republic…

Following the death of Julius Caesar, in 44 B.C.E., his great-nephew Octavian (the future emperor Augustus) held a series of public games in honor of his great-uncle…Octavian was at this time by no means assured of his accession to the political power of his uncle… It was, as the ancient writers tell us, a wild success…The Roman historian Suetonius reports that during the course of the games, “a comet [stella crinita] shone throughout seven days in a row, rising at about the 11th hour, and it was believed that it was the soul of Caesar who had been taken up into heaven.”

Here’s the thing. As the account itself states, comets’ appearances were utterly unpredictable only for many. You can bet your bottom dollar that Octavian’s games were scheduled to coincide with the predictions of his top astronomer.

Numismatic [coins] evidence linked to archaeological contexts and textual sources.

And even thousands’ years old archeological dates are unreliable.

Relative dating stems from the idea that…objects closer to the surface are more recent in time relative to items deeper in the ground…several problems arise. Rodents, for example, can create havoc in a site by moving items from one context to another. Natural disasters like floods can sweep away top layers of sites to other locations. 

Absolute dating represents the absolute age of the sample before the present. Historical documents and calendars can be used to find such absolute dates; however, when working in a site without such documents, it is hard for absolute dates to be determined.

Dendrochronology

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Andrew. E. Douglass founded the science of dendrochronology…As a young astronomer working at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona, Douglass had a particular interest in…how the sun influences weather. He began looking at the annual growth rings of trees and noticed a relationship between the size of the growth rings and climate factors such as moisture and elevation. He plotted the width of tree rings and compiled the first chronologies to show how trees record climate changes through time. Noting the similarity in the response of trees across the region, he invented a technique that would prove to be a fundamental tool in tree-rings studies: cross-dating, or matching the patterns of tree rings from one tree to another. This allowed scientists to mark exact calendar dates for each ring…used to date works of art (wooden frames), violins and other wood instruments, and buildings.

Long tree-ring sequences have been developed throughout the world…An extensive tree-ring sequence from the present to 6700 BC was developed in Arizona using California bristlecone pine (Pinus aristata), some of which are 4900 years old, making them the oldest living things on earth.

This is scientific evidence for the biblical model of earth’s living history beginning about 6,000 years ago, followed about 1,500 years later by the world-wide flood.

Radiocarbon dating technique is the most important development in absolute dating in archaeology.

In 1949, American chemist Willard Libby, who worked on the development of the atomic bomb, published the first set of radiocarbon dates…

Radioactive carbon-14 is used to analyze an organic material, such as wood, seeds, or bones, to determine a date of the material’s growth….

Radiocarbon dating accuracy has its limits. The material’s period of growth might be many decades from the era in which it was used or reused, say, in building construction. Calibration procedures are complex and periodically revised as new information comes to light, skewing the radiocarbon dating accuracy. And statistical models also vary from researcher to researcher. 

When Libby was first determining radiocarbon dates, he found that before 1000 BC his dates were earlier than calendar dates. He had assumed that amounts of Carbon-14 in the atmosphere had remained constant through time. In fact, levels of Carbon-14 have varied in the atmosphere through time. One good example would be the elevated levels of Carbon-14 in our atmosphere since WWII as a result of atomic bombs testing. Therefore, radiocarbon dates need to be calibrated with other dating techniques to ensure accuracy…

Manning, professor of archaeology at Cornell University and director of the Cornell Tree-Ring Laboratory, is the lead author of “Fluctuating Radiocarbon Offsets Observed in the Southern Levant and Implications for Archaeological Chronology Debates,” published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

We went looking to test the assumption behind the whole field of radiocarbon dating,” Manning said. “We know from atmospheric measurements over the last 50 years that radiocarbon levels vary through the year, and we also know that plants typically grow at different times in different parts of the Northern Hemisphere. So we wondered whether the radiocarbon levels relevant to dating organic material might also vary for different areas and whether this might affect archaeological dating.”

The authors measured a series of carbon-14 ages in southern Jordan tree rings, with established calendar dates between 1610 and 1940 A.D. They found that contemporary plant material growing in the southern Levant shows an average offset in radiocarbon age of about 19 years compared the current Northern Hemisphere standard calibration curve.

Manning noted that “scholars working on the early Iron Age and Biblical chronology in Jordan and Israel are doing sophisticated projects with radiocarbon age analysis, which argue for very precise findings. This then becomes the timeline of history. But our work indicates that it’s arguable their fundamental basis is faulty — they are using a calibration curve that is not accurate for this region…

“Our work,” he added, “should prompt a round of revisions and rethinking for the timeline of the archaeology and early history of the southern Levant through the early Biblical period.”

The most common method for dating prehistoric objects uses the degradation of an isotope of carbon, carbon 14, in living organic (containing carbon) matter like plants, which becomes a fixed amount once death prevents maintaining a steady amount in the living being…

there is significant uncertainty in carbon dating.  There are several variables that contribute to this uncertainty. First, as mentioned previously, the proportions of C-14 in the atmosphere in historic times is unknown. The C-14:C-12 atmospheric ratio is known to vary over time and it is not at all certain that the curve is “well behaved.”

Complicating things further, various plants have differing abilities to exclude significant proportions of the C-14 in their intake. This varies with environmental conditions as well. The varying rates at which C-14 is excluded in plants also means that the apparent age of a living animal may be affected by an animal’s diet. An animal that ingested plants with relatively low C-14 proportions would be dated older than their true age.

Attempts are often made to index C-14 proportions using samples of know age. While this may be useful to eliminate the uncertainty of atmospheric proportions of C-14, it does not compensate for local conditions such as which plant species are in the diet. The uncertainty in the measurement leads some to conclude that the method is far less predictive of age than is commonly supposed, especially for older samples. 

Scientific papers and news reports about new fossils so regularly come with estimates of age...I asked John Hawks, a biologist at the University of Wisconsin and one of the heads of the Rising Star expedition, to talk me through the various available methods—and why they have been difficult to apply to the latest finds.

The technique people are most likely to have heard of is carbon dating. It hinges upon the presence of carbon-14, a radioactive isotope of carbon that accumulates in the bodies of animals throughout our lives, and gradually decays after we die. By measuring the amounts left in a specimen, scientists can calculate when its owner died. The problem is that carbon-14 decays relatively quickly, as radioactive isotopes go, so this method only works well for samples this side of 50,000 years old… 

Whoa! So what methods are used to establish dates older than 50,000 years ago, i.e. the calendar of the evolution of all living things?

An alternative technique, known as electron spin resonanceor ESR…is great for dating teeth—which the team found plenty of…a tooth acts like a dosimeter for radiation, in a way that depends on two things: the levels of natural radiation in its environment, and how long it was buried for. If you know the former, you can deduce the latter.

But knowing the natural radiation levels is “sort of nightmarish,” says Hawks. It involves, for example, installing actual radiation dosimeters and taking out vertical cores of sediment. And even then, the results from ESR typically need to be cross-checked against other sources of data.

Paleontologists can sometimes date a new fossil by looking at its companions in death, by finding nearby bones of other extinct animals that died within a known timeframe…

As a defense attorney, I would “Strike that!”

1) Being in the vicinity does not prove being accomplices or companions in death.

2) Where is the proof for the timeframe of the death of the other animals?

In East Africa, hominid fossils are often preserved within layers of rockThese layers include slices of ash deposited by erupting volcanoes. Scientists can date them by measuring radioactive isotopes of potassium within those layers—which is the same principle as carbon-dating, but applicable to much older samples. And once they know the age of the layers, they can tell the age of the fossils sandwiched within them.

Strike that. This assumes uniformity in the embedding and radioactivity of potassium over millions of years, which is not only impossible to establish but, on the contrary, has been demonstrated to happen rapidly.

But in southern Africa, hominid fossils are almost always found in caves like Rising Star. Here, there are no convenient volcanic layers. Instead, the bones are typically embedded within breccia—a concrete-like mixture of gravel, sand, and other junk that accumulated in the floor of the cave.

These blocks might still be surrounded by informative layers called flowstones—sheets of calcite formed when water drips down the walls and floors of a cave. The water carries soluble uranium, which remains in the flowstone and decays over time into thorium and lead. Again, the levels of these elements reveal the age of the layer…

Strike that for the same reason as above – assuming uniformity which is known not to be the case, especially over the millions of years required for the conceptual process of evolution.

The reality is that even National Geographic frankly states that all dating methods are highly unreliable.

Ask an archaeologist how old the site they’re excavating is, and they may not have an answer.”

[In 2015] the world said hello to Homo naledi, a new species of ancient human discovered in South Africa’s Rising Star cave… at least 15 individual skeletons—one of the richest hauls of hominid fossils ever uncovered.

But one significant problem clouded the excitement over the discovery: The team doesn’t know how old the fossils are. And without that age, it’s hard to know how Homo naledi fits into the story of human evolution, or how to interpret its apparent habit of deliberately burying its own kind. Everyone from professional paleontologists to interested members of the public raised the same question: Why hadn’t the team dated the fossils yet?

The simple answer is: Because dating fossils is really difficult.

Fossils are the preserved remains, or traces of remains, of ancient organisms. Fossils are not the remains of the organism itself! They are rocks. 

But what about that fossilized dinosaur embryo that’s been making headlines lately? 

From National Geographic:

See a rare baby dinosaur curled up in its fossilised egg

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One of the most complete dino embryos ever found shows the ancient infant tucked into a position that’s strikingly similar to today’s unhatched chickens.

PUBLISHED 22 DEC 2021, 10:41 GMT

Oh, wait! Read the fine print! PHOTOGRAPH BY ILLUSTRATION BY LIDA XING

Strikes me that National Geographic is being somewhat deceptive.

A photograph of the actual fossil is found in the BBC news

Scientists Have Discovered A Perfectly Preserved Dinosaur Embryo In China

1400100114043888024331374

A fossil can preserve an entire organism or just part of one. Bones, shells, feathers, and leaves can all become fossils. 

So if this example is an entire organism, where are the feathers and skin that were painted into the illustration of the actual organism? If it is so bird-like, how are they so sure it isn’t a bird?

the infant dino comes from rocks estimated to be roughly 70 million years old.” 

And that estimated but assertively assigned date OF THE ROCK places it prior to the evolution of birds, according to Evolution, so it CAN’T be a bird. 

0921_liliput_timeline_final

Hmm. Seems self-serving for the paleontologist.

All birds directly evolved from a group of two-legged dinosaurs known as theropods, whose members include the towering Tyrannosaurus rex and the smaller velociraptors.

The pre-hatching behavior isn’t the only behavior modern birds inherited from their dinosaur ancestors. The same kind of dinosaurs are also known to have sat on top of their eggs to incubate them in a way similar to birds, Zelenitsky said.

These statements cannot be made with scientific accuracy. There simply isn’t enough data. And how can behavior be “known” hundreds of millions years after it occurred?

One time frame we can deduce for certain is that extinction of species happens rapidly, often within a hundred years, not hundreds of thousands.

34e6eaa882e200c1900b8617b038f293-graph-the-year

Komodo dragons, the world’s largest living lizards, can grow up to 10 feet in length and weigh as much as 300 pounds. In the wild they are only found in Indonesia’s Komodo National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site, and a neighboring island called Flores. 

“The idea that these prehistoric animals have moved one step closer to extinction due in part to climate change is terrifying,” conservationists said.

mj9ybq

Following is a good example of how fossil dating cannot be taken seriously.

The discovery of carvings on a snake-shaped rock along with 70,000-year-old spearheads nearby has dramatically pushed back the earliest evidence for ritual behavior, or what could be called religion. The finding, which researchers have yet to formally publish, comes from a cave hidden in the Tsodilo Hills of Botswana, a mecca of sorts for the local people, who call it the Mountain of the Gods…

[The researchers] found…a six-meter-long rock that bore a striking resemblance to a snake, including a mouthlike gash at the end. “My first words I remember saying are, ‘My god…”

pythonritual

Snakes feature prominently in the traditions and the mythology of the San, sometimes called the Bushmen.

[R]eliable markers of the site’s longevity lay buried…In a one-meter-wide, two-meter-deep excavation right next to the snake, the researchers uncovered more than 100 multicolored spear points from a total of 13,000 man-made artifacts.

The tips closely resemble those found elsewhere in Africa that researchers have dated at up to 77,000 years old, Coulson says. Judging from the rare colors of the stone points and the pattern of fragments, people from far and wide likely brought them to the cave partially made and finished working them there, she explains.

Some of the stone tips seem to have been burned or smashed in what may have been a type of sacrifice…Other spearheads exhibit chips and marks that suggest someone had struck the finished tips dead-on, something that researchers have observed at sites in Siberia, she notes.

Did you catch the self-serving circular reasoning in this account?

1. The researchers date the use of the stone snake by the artifacts found with it.

2. Although it is impossible to date when these stones were worked into artifacts, in an inexcusable misuse of the term “reliable”, researchers deceptively claim they can be dated by their resemblance to those found elsewhere which have been dated to 77,000 years old.

3. The reliability of that dating is not provided and is impossible to provide since the stone, not the working into artifacts, is all that can be dated.

The reality, as stated by the article, which, significantly, has not been published, is that this site has been in continuous use for just the last few thousand years by the San people whose offerings are most certainly among the artifacts discovered.

gettyimages-143922818-599e8417845b34001013e64cThe San populated South Africa long before the arrival of the Bantu-speaking nations, and thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans…

The San are the best model we have for the hunter-gatherer lifestyle that saw so many generations through the Stone Age, and…evidence does points to a ‘San’ history…

There are three kinds of evidence that give us clues as to the development of the early South African hunter-gatherers and later the San. These consist of human bone fragments and art artefacts (like beadwork and rock art) as well as the examination of the places where these people lived, and the food remains that they left behind.

Rock art by the late Stone Age hunter-gatherers can be found in the form of paintings or engravings in almost every district in South Africa...Although many are not well preserved, collectively they represent a remarkable record of the beliefs and cultural practices of the people who made them. Most were created by San hunter-gatherers…

The San have a rich oral history and have passed stories down from generation to generation. The oldest rock paintings they created are in Namibia and have been radiocarbon-dated to be 26 000 years old. 

And we know that radiocarbon dating is not reliable.

Whoa, stop! Then where do we get dates of human activity occurring hundreds of thousands of years ago?

From the belief of evolution which requires the assumption of an extremely long period of time for innumerable slight modifications to accumulate into the complex life forms we see today.

bouncingmoleculesEvolution’s claim that billions of years have passed to account for the coalescence of random chance atomic collisions into the structured world filled with staggering diversity and ecological interdependency has been disproven by Science’s Second Law of Thermodynamics. Over time, left to itself, energy and mass becomes more random, never more organized.

So what we have is the scientific community doggedly claiming Uniformitarianism as a fact because it is the foundational element of Evolution, while actively pursuing policies, practices and safeguards in acknowledgment of the reality of Catastrophism. 

Reminds me of the song “You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out, you put your right foot in, and you shake it all about. You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself about, that’s what it’s all about!”

By itself, the utter lack of scientific support for uniformitarianism relegates Evolution to the category of an atheistic religion. Evolution’s arbitrary designation of dating procedures to conform to its uniformitarianism belief system proves that, far more than any Creationist religion, it is based strictly on belief against the evidence.

Only time will tell whether researchers’ current arsenal of technologies is enough to untangle the complete story of human evolution. Perhaps novel technologies—such as paleoproteomics, a nascent field that aims to reconstruct ancestry from fossilized proteins, which are more durable than DNA—will help researchers “push further back in time,” notes biological anthropologist Rebecca Ackermann of the University of Cape Town.

Interesting way to put that. Time will tell…

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