It’s funny how scientists have better things to do than
broadcast the naive claims of stupid JWs... we only hear it the other way round
from the Watchtower org.
@DD, Probably beds are a poor archaeological example but
there can hardly be one bed apart from the most crudely made which would not
yield a date based on style, joints, nails, tool marks or type of wood, finish,
Archaeological dating is a big subject and its complexity is
one of the reasons why it is virtually hidden to those whose certain belief is
that the Bible is the final authority on everything. The small, fuzzy and wet
brain of a JW thinks: “They say it’s old but it can’t be ’cos the Watchtower
says that carbon dating is inaccurate.” End of thinking process.
After I escaped the Borg I took a university course on early
man. Then with another university I spent most of my free time and weekends digging
on pre-historic excavations. This meant working with scientists and experts of
many kinds; geologists, palaeontologists, entomologists, etc, since that is the
way of modern archaeology. It was for me an affirmation of the real world of
determining truth by evidence. Also it was an attempt to catch up to where I
should have been educationally had I not wasted my youth on the WTBTS.
My office is cluttered with archaeological bits and here in
England is a great place to come across finds because of the long period of
occupation. Southern England has artefacts (humanly made objects) which go back
continuously to the Upper Palaeolithic and discontinuously before that to the
Lower Palaeolithic of about 800,000 years BCE on the East Anglian coast. My
garden and the field adjoining contain stone tools from the Mesolithic,
Neolithic and Bronze Age with very early Roman occupation pottery just recently
found here and with ceramics from all periods subsequent to that.
I have Neanderthal tools (Mousterian culture) behind my
computer (probably 120,000 years old) When a JW, I found a simple piece of
pottery near where I lived at the time in North West London. On exiting the
Borg I took it to the British Museum for dating. To my surprise they not only were they able to
identify what this shard was (the rim of a large Romano British storage jar)
but were able to pin-point the pottery kiln from which it most probably came two thousand
years earlier...(from Lambeth on the south bank of the Thames).
As my example shows there exist vast scientific data bases for
information of typology (i.e. style and period and materials used) and this
goes into the remote past. For different periods different criteria are used. In pre-history, which is the contentious period for fundamentalist
argument, artefacts are dated by being able to position them with reference to a
specific “climate stage” from the past 2.7 million years of very well recorded ice age climate-change history. (It just happens that we have been in a temperature maximum for the last ten thousand years)
If you haven’t gone
to sleep yet, the first enquiry at the find's site is done by the geologist
since pre-history took place in geological time. So with an approximate
determination made from the stratigraphy (chronological sequence of layers) the
next thing is to evaluate the matrix (what the finds were embedded in). In
pre-history matrix material makes for a determination because there are usually
many indicators present, often microscopic, such as bug remains, pollen, rodent jaws, teeth, bones,
seeds etc. Each climate stage represents a place in the slow tidal drift of
climate changing from temperate or thermal maximum (today) down to full blown glacial episodes.
The average time between these temperature peaks is around
100,000 years. The key to it all is knowledge of the plant, bug, snail and animal
communities in which the finds were made. For example when you find reindeer
and mammoth remains in soil in Spain with seeds of arctic plants it must be
evident even to a JW (perhaps not!) that the climate was arctic at the time of
the animal’s life.
I could go on but you get the picture. Dating in archaeology
is done primarily by context and typology after that with reference to dendrochronology
and/or radiometric dating etc, if the site suggests it to be old enough to
warrant that method. Pre-history is done by discovering which flora and fauna
community you are dealing with in a particular stratigraphy, indicating the
place in the specific climate sequence which is then corroborated by the appropriate
methods which Finklestein has listed already. So you do not need always to test the artefact, just the context in which it was found.
What I have described
is of course an over simplification but a picture from the work-face of
archaeology. It is often pains-takingly slow, careful, technical and analytical, only to
be dismissed in the mind of the JW who believes that the GB must know so much
more than any worthless scientist...