Radiocarbon dating and religion
With the advent of accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) (2, 3), the amount of carbon necessary for obtaining a radiocarbon date was significantly reduced from a few grams down to 1 milligram carbon (4).Technical advances in general, and especially in the field of gas ion source AMS (5, 6), where mixtures of CO and He gas are introduced straight into the GIS-AMS, have reduced sample requirements to micrograms of material (7), thereby setting a new milestone. Radiocarbon dating has the potential to answer the question of when an artwork was created, by providing a time frame of the material used.In this study we show that with two microsamples (C age gained on the paint contradicts this as it offers clear evidence for a post-1950 creation.
With the advent of accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) and further development of gas ion sources (GIS), a reduction of sample size down to microgram amounts of carbon became possible, opening the possibility to date individual paint layers in artworks.A time lag of 2–5 y between the radiocarbon date and the date noted on the work of art is not uncommon (15).When the C age of the canvas postdates the signed date, it is considered a potential evidence of forgery (13).Thus the additional dating of the paint reveals the forger’s scheme where the repainting of an appropriately aged canvas was used to convey the illusion of authenticity.Art forgeries have existed since antiquity, but with the recent rapidly expanding commercialization of art, the approach to art authentication has demanded increasingly sophisticated detection schemes.
One of those paintings, signed “Sarah Honn” and dated “May 5, 1866 AD,” imitates the American primitive folk art style and is entitled , (Fig. The painting was seized by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.