) There is no doubt that a more reliable estimate of the ‘true’ age of the Vinland map would be obtained if additional independent measurements were available. Table 2 shows that in all cases a chi square of 5% or less was obtained, making it unlikely that the counting errors represent the total error in the radiocarbon dating of the above five samples.
As this is improbable, we are dependent on statistical estimates using current data. , the estimate of the standard error of the mean, agrees reasonably well with the estimates the U of Arizona reported for the total errors for the Shroud of Turin and the three controls, but not for the Vinland map.
Carbon 14 has a half-life of 5,780 years, and is continuously created in Earth's atmosphere through the interaction of nitrogen and gamma rays from outer space.
Because atmospheric carbon 14 arises at about the same rate that the atom decays, Earth's levels of carbon 14 have remained fairly constant.
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co.