Developed carbon dating
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.
The earliest experiments in radiocarbon dating were done on ancient material from Egypt. Libby’s team obtained acacia wood from the 3rd Dynasty Step Pyramid of Djoser to test a hypothesis they had developed.
Libby reasoned that since the half-life of C years, the Djoser sample’s C14 concentration should be about 50% of the concentration found in living wood (for further details, see Arnold and Libby, 1949). Subsequent work with radiocarbon testing raised questions about the fluctuation of atmospheric C14 over time.
We then compared our results with the mid-point dates of the kings to whom the monuments belonged (Cambridge Ancient History, 3rd ed.).
The average radiocarbon dates were 374 years earlier than expected.
We have fair agreement for the 1st Dynasty tombs at North Saqqara between our historical dates, previous radiocarbon dates, and our radiocarbon dates on reed material.Test results from Middle Kingdom pyramid (Senwosret II).