Re: Comments on discussion

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Posted by Michael Wendorf on June 27, 1999 at 11:32:26:

In Reply to: Re: Comments on discussion posted by Tom Cole on June 27, 1999 at 10:18:09:

: : Dear Randy,

: : I think the reason so much attention is being paid to C-14 dating is that it is "breaking news". The Basel conference on the subject is recent, and many believe that our thinking about the ages and aesthetics of Turkmen rugs is undergoing a revolution based on the C-14 results. That revolution, of course, is based on the belief that C-14 dating of Turkmen rugs is reliable. There are enough sources of error to make this, at the least, an unsettled question, even if 95% confidence limits of more than 300 years bother you less than they do me.

: : I'd love to see some discussion of dating things besides Turkmen, and have tried to outline the conventional ways of doing this in hopes of drawing some out.

: : Regards,

: : Steve

: Regarding dating other rugs thru C-14. In my Baluch article in HALI 97, there is pictured a fragment of a main rug, a blue ground Taimuri piece exhibiting a design more often associated with 18th century garden carpets from NW Persia.
: This fragment was dated thru C-14 to the 13-14th century. Do I believe that date? Of course not. Does anyone else believe that date? I doubt it. It just highlights the fallacy of "believing" C-14 without taking into account the multi-factorial process which leads to substantive rather than wishful dating.

Dear Randy and Tom:
Yes, I wouldn't believe that result on that piece, in fact I find it shocking. Further to Randy's question about other testing of pieces with known dates. Although I was not directly involved witht he testing of Anatolian kilims done by Jurg Rageth about 3 years ago, I did translate his paper on the subject into English and had several substantive discussions with him about that testing. There, in addition to the kilims, several textiles with known and accepted dates such as coptic and other non-Anatolian pieces were tested. This helped give some added support to the dates (incidently some kilims he thought would test early did not while a group with a specific coloration tended to all come out as early or earlier than imagined) as you suggest it might. I do not believe this was done with the Turkomans. There may also be something about pile items which causes results to be less reliable than they are with flatwoven pieces.
Much work and critical assessment is needed.
Regards, Michael Wendorf

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