It occurs to me that it would be useful to have (as complete as possible) a list of papyrus and parchment manuscripts that have been subjected to radiocarbon analysis. I have tried to arrange this list chronologically by the date when the analysis was carried out (which sometimes differs substantially from the date of publication). I would be grateful to be informed of omissions (especially Pharaonic-era papyri and medieval parchment manuscripts; I know that many have been analyzed, but I am not aware of the publication details). Thanks in advance. Links are provided for open access materials.
[Before 1972–date of analysis uncertain]. Parchment manuscripts from Renaissance-era Britain. Berger et al., “Radiocarbon Dating of Parchment,” Nature 235 (1972) 160-161.
1990. 14 Dead Sea Scrolls. Georges Bonani et al., “Radiocarbon Dating of Fourteen Dead Sea Scrolls,” Radiocarbon 34 (1992) 843-849. See also R.E. Taylor and Ofer Bar-Yosef, Radiocarbon Dating: An Archaeological Perspective (2nd ed.; Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press, 2014), 38-42.
1994. 18 Dead Sea Scrolls. A.J. Timothy Jull et al., “Radiocarbon Dating of Scrolls and Linen Fragments from the Judean Desert,” Radiocarbon 37 (1995), 11-19. See also R.E. Taylor and Ofer Bar-Yosef, Radiocarbon Dating: An Archaeological Perspective (2nd ed.; Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press, 2014), 38-42.
1994. The Glazier Codex. John Lawrence Sharpe, “The Earliest Bindings with Wooden Board Covers: The Coptic Contribution to Binding Construction,” pages 2.455–2.478 in Carlo Federici and Paola F. Munafò (eds.), International Conference on Conservation and Restoration of Archival and Library Materials. 2 vols. (Rome: Istituto centrale per la patologia del libro, 1999). The leather wrapping strap was analyzed (see also Nongbri, “A New Radiocarbon Calibration Curve and Early Christian Manuscripts“).
1995. The Vinland Map. D.J. Donahue, J.S. Olin, and G. Harbottle,” Determination of the Radiocarbon Age of Parchment of the Vinland Map,” Radiocarbon 44 (2002) 45-52 (see also Cummings, “Analysis Unlocks Secret of Vinland Map–It’s a Fake“).
1995. Cologne Mani Codex. Cornelia Römer, “Die Datierung des Kölner Mani-Kodex,” Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 220 (2021) 94-96 (see also Nongbri, “Radiocarbon Dating of the Cologne Mani Codex“).
[Before 1998–date of analysis uncertain, originally published in Hebrew]. P.Mur. 22 and P.Mur. 29. Ḥanan Eshel, Magen Broshi, and Timothy A.J. Jull, “Four Murabbaʻat papyri and the alleged capture of Jerusalem by Bar Kokhba,” in Ranon Katzoff and David Schaps (eds.), Law in the Documents of the Judaean Desert (Leiden: Brill, 2005) 45-50.
1999. So-called “Dead Sea Scroll,” XJoshua. James H. Charlesworth, “Unknown Provenance: XJoshua,” in E. Tov et al., Discoveries in the Judaean Desert XXXVIII: Miscellaneous Texts from the Judaean Desert (Oxford: Clarendon, 2000), 234, note 8. See also Årstein Justnes and Josephine Munch Rasmussen, “More Dubious Dead Sea Scrolls,” Dead Sea Discoveries 28 (2021) 20-37.
[Before 2001–date of analysis uncertain]. Two Dead Sea Scrolls, 4Q427 and 4Q491. Magen Broshi and Hanan Eshel, “Radiocarbon Dating and The Messiah Before Jesus,” Revue de Qumrân 20 (2001) 311-317.
2005. Tchacos Codex (Gospel of Judas). Christian Askeland, “Carbon Dating the Tchacos Codex,” Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 58 (2021) 299-314.
[Before 2010–date of analysis uncertain]. 7 parchment and 3 paper manuscripts from the University of Seville, 13th to 17th centuries. F.J. Santos et al., “Radiocarbon dating of medieval manuscripts from the University of Seville,” Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 268 (2010) 1038-1040.
[Before 2010–date of analysis uncertain]. Artemidorus Papyrus. M.E. Fedi et al., “The Artemidorus Papyrus: Solving an Ancient Puzzle with Radiocarbon and Ion Beam Analysis Measurements,” Radiocarbon 52 (2010) 356-363.
[Before 2011—date of analysis uncertain]. The Voynich Manuscript. Widely reported in news outlets, but no proper publication of data yet?
2012-2013. Manichaean codices from Medinet Madi. Jason BeDuhn and Greg Hodgins, “The Date of the Manichaean Codices from Medinet Madi, and its Significance,” pages 10-28 in S.N.C. Lieu (ed.) Manichaeism East and West (Turnhout: Brepols, 2017) (see also “A New Radiocarbon Calibration Curve and Early Christian Manuscripts“).
2012. 9 parchment Torah scrolls. Fabiana M. Oliveira et al., “Radiocarbon analysis of the Torah scrolls from the National Museum of Brazil collection”, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B 361 (2015),531–534.
[Before 2013–date of analysis uncertain]. 6 British historical parchments, 14th to 19th centuries. Fiona Brock, “Radiocarbon Dating of Historical Parchments,” Radiocarbon 55 (2013) 353-363.
[Before 2014–date of analysis uncertain] Gospel of Jesus Wife and Associated Fragment. Gregory Hodgins, “Accelerated Mass Spectrometry Radiocarbon Determination of Papyrus Samples,” Harvard Theological Review 107 (2014) 166-169 and Noreen Tuross, “Accelerated Mass Spectrometry Radiocarbon Determination of Papyrus Samples,” Harvard Theological Review 107 (2014) 170-171. The report of Hodgins lists many other papyrus manuscripts (mostly Pharaonic) that have been subjected to radiocarbon analysis.
2014. Papyrus amulet with a Christian prayer. Roberta Mazza, “P.Ryl. Greek Add. 1166: Christian Prayer Amulet with a Tax Receipt on the Back,” Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 197 (2016) 73-84.
2014. Crosby-Schøyen Codex. Hugo Lundhaug, “The Date of MS 193 in the Schøyen Collection: New Radiocarbon Evidence,” Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 57 (2020) 219-234.
2014. Nag Hammadi Codex I. Hugo Lundhaug, “Dating and Contextualising the Nag Hammadi Codices and their Texts: A Multi-methodological Approach Including New Radiocarbon Evidence,” pages 117-142 in J. Verheyden, J. Schröter, T. Nicklas (eds.), Texts in Context (Leuven: Peeters, 2021).
2014. Wyman Fragment of Romans. Daniel Stevens, “The Wyman Fragment: A New Edition and Analysis with Radiocarbon Dating,” New Testament Studies 68 (2022) 431-444.
2015. 4 Early Quran Manuscripts. Michael Josef Marx and Tobias J. Jocham, “Zu den Datierungen von Koranhandschriften durch die 14C-Methode,” Frankfurter Zeitschrift für Islamisch-theologische Studien 2 (2015) 9-43.
[Before 2016–date of analysis uncertain]. Carbonized Ein Gedi Leviticus Scroll. Brent Seales et al., “From damage to discovery via virtual unwrapping: Reading the scroll from En-Gedi,” Science Advances 2 (2016).
[Before 2019–date of analysis uncertain]. Dated Arabic letters in Heidelberg. Eva Mira Youssef-Grob, “Radiocarbon (14C) Dating of Early Islamic Documents: Background and Prospects,” pages 139-187 in Andreas Kaplony and Michael Marx (eds.), Qur’ān Quotations Preserved on Papyrus Documents, 7th-10th Centuries and the Roblem of Carbon Dating Early Qur’āns (Leiden: Brill, 2019). Youssef-Grob’s paper is a great overall introduction to radiocarbon analysis as it applies to manuscripts.
2019. 7 parchment Quran manuscripts and a Syriac Bible. Ali Aghaei and Michael Josef Marx, “Carbon dating of seven parchment Qurʾān manuscripts and one Syriac bible of the National Museum of Iran,” Journal of Iran National Museum 2 (2021) 205–226.
2019. Several Arabic manuscripts. Ali Aghaei et al., “Radiocarbon Dating of Manuscripts Kept in the Central Library of the University of Tehran Radiocarbon (2023); (Arabic) LiLi Kordavani, et al., “Carbon Dating Analysis of Manuscripts kept in the Central Library of The University of Tehran,” Academic Librarianship and Information Research 56 (2022) 63-80.
[Before 2020–date of analysis uncertain]. P.Köln Inv. 5941 (Hebrew text on animal hide). Elisabetta Boaretto et al., “Date, Materiality and Historical Significance of P.Köln Inv. 5941,” COMSt Bulletin 6/2 (2020).
[Before 2021–date of analysis uncertain]. 15th-17th century parchment documents and modern parchment. Tuuli M. Kasso et al., “Volumes of Worth–Delimiting the Sample Size for Radiocarbon Dating of Parchment,” Radiocarbon 63 (2021) 105-120.
Another set of Dead Sea Scrolls, discussed in 2021 here.
A batch of materials from the Museum of the Bible, discussed in 2014 here.
The alleged radiocarbon analysis of a papyrus containing works of Sappho is not substantiated.
Four Murabbaʻat papyri and the alleged capture of Jerusalem by Bar Kokhba
Eshel, Ḥanan 1958-2010; Broshi, Magen 1929-2020; Jull, Timothy A J
Law in the documents of the Judaean desert, Leiden : Boston : Brill, 2005, p 45-50
Thanks! I’ve added it to the list.
RADIOCARBON DATING AND THE MESSIAH BEFORE JESUS
By: Broshi, Magen; Eshel, Ḥanan. Source: Revue de Qumran, 20 no 2 Dec 2001, p 311-317. Publication Type: Article
Subjects: Knohl, Israel , 1952-; Dead Sea scrolls–History and dating; Radiocarbon dating; Hymns, Hebrew; Qumran community; Essenes; Messiah
Thanks, Stephen. It is now added.
Thank you for the list Brent, a Christian prayer amulet at the Manchester Rylands Library was radio-carbon dated in 2014 as documented in: Roberta Mazza, P.Ryl. Greek Add. 1166: Christian Prayer Amulet with a Tax Receipt on the Back, «ZEITSCHRIFT FÜR PAPYROLOGIE UND EPIGRAPHIK», 2016, 197, pp. 73 – 84.
Further detail, if necessary can be asked to the conservation department files at the JRL.
Thanks, Roberta! I’ve added it into the list.
Fabiana M. Oliveira, Carlos A.R. Araujo, Kita D. Macario, Alberto S. Cid, “Radiocarbon analysis of the Torah scrolls from the National Museum of Brazil collection”, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms, 361 (2015), 531–534
Ali Aghaei, Faranak Bahrololoumi, I. Hajdas, Rasul Jafarian, Lili Kordavani, Michael Marx, “Radiocarbon dating of manuscripts kept in the central library of the university of Tehran”, Radiocarbon, online 2 February 2023
Marx, Michael Josef, “Carbon dating of seven parchment Qurʾān manuscripts and one Syriac bible of the National Museum of Iran”, Journal of Iran National Museum, 2 (2021), 205–226
Thanks! I’ve added them to the list.
you should include the radiocarbon dating of the Garima Gospels; done twice; the results of the second dating exercise were announced in Oxford in November 2013 – 390 to 570 for Garima 2, and 530 to 660 for Garima 1. I do not know where the dating has been formally published, though I presume that Jaques Mercier will be the author.
The significance of this early date for the two primary witnesses to the AA text of the Ethiopic Gospels is set out by Kim. Taken together the two mansuscripts allow the mid-4th century text of the Ethiopic Gospels to be recovered with a very high degree of confidence.
From Kim on the dating of the two ancient Garima codices:
“Date: 390-570 AD (carbon-14 dating; see J. Mercier, 2000, p. 40; J.S. McKenzie F. Watson, 2016, p. 40-41). It can be determined from J. Mercier, 2000, p. 40 that in 2000 the carbon-14 analysis was conducted for two folios: f. 2 of Abba Garima C was dated of 430-650 AD, and f. 83 was dated of 330-540 AD. It is also reported (see J.S. McKenzie, F. Watson 2016, p. 40-41) that one more folio from ms. C was analysed in 2012 and with a result of 390-570 AD, but no published study mentions which folio was used for the analysis. ”
“Date: 530-660 AD (carbon-14 dated; see J.S. McKenzie, F. Watson, 2016, p. 40-41; see also M- Bailey, 2013. Unfortunately, the results of the carbon-14 analysis obtained by Jacques Mercier in 2012 were not published).”
Report of a tested New Kingdom Dynasty 18 papyrus here: