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Posted by / 11-Jan-2020 18:59

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We need a fixed point in time as a starting point so that all the BP dates are equivalent no matter when they are published.

Since the BP designation was originally associated with radiocarbon dating, archaeologists chose the year 1950 as a reference point for 'the present.' That date was chosen because radiocarbon dating was invented in the late 1940s.

Tree rings, which keep a record of the amount of carbon in the atmosphere when they are created, are used to calibrate or fine-tune radiocarbon dates to their calendar dates.

But, perhaps the most interesting outcome of all this investigation is the wide variety of modern mathematicians and programmers who have taken a crack at perfecting the matches between ancient calendars using modern technology.

However, a major disadvantage of using BP is that the present year, of course, changes every twelve months.

If it was a simple matter of counting backward, what was accurately measured and published as 500 BP today in fifty years would be 550 BP.

So, when you see 2000 cal BP, think "2000 years before the calendar year 1950" or what calculates to the calendar year 50 BCE.

No matter when that date is published, it will always mean that.

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