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CAMS is one of several dozen labs worldwide that conduct accelerator mass spectrometry, or AMS.
The technique is less time-consuming and requires a much smaller sample size than traditional carbon dating.
Samples from the Siloam tunnel, which the books of Kings and Chronicles say was constructed in ancient Jerusalem during the reign of King Hezekiah, have been dated using radiometric techniques by researchers from Israel and the UK.
Amos Frumkin at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and colleagues at the Geological Survey of Israel and Reading University calculate that the tunnel was built in about 700 BC, and that the biblical text provides an accurate historical record of the tunnel’s construction (A Frumkin et al. To date the tunnel, the researchers measured samples of plants and wood contained within the plaster that lined the tunnel.
The result is a nitrogen-14 nucleus with seven protons and seven neutrons.
The trouble is that after 40,000 years there is under 1% of the original C-14 left, and it becomes too hard to measure it accurately.In AMS, researchers direct a beam of cesium ions at a sample.This causes the sample to eject atoms, which are then filtered by magnetic and electric fields and sent into a detector that counts them.Living plants contain a certain amount of radioactive carbon-14 that is replenished through the process of photosynthesis.Since this quantity starts to diminish once the plant dies, the ratio of carbon-14 to stable carbon-12 reveals how long the plant has been dead.