How the radiocarbon date actually work?The sana manuscript has 2 layer text,how they dated these 2 layer texts aka upper and lower text?I heard carbon dating can only date the material itself, the paper or parchment, not media used to add content to the parchment or paper substrate.So how actually they dated it?Can they date the ink of the text or not? If they can then why they aren't be sure about the date of birmingham manuscript?In the case of Birmingham manuscript, it has its verse ending dotted,even the chapters endings are dotted and it was not early quranic style so even though I believe that it first century manuscript but It's so early date is not believable, but if they can date the ink, the dating can come more accurate may be,So can anyone tell me how they carbonated sana manuscript?

  • I don't see how this is on-topic here!
    – Medi1Saif
    Sep 28, 2022 at 14:22
  • Where can it be asked?
    – user51541
    Sep 28, 2022 at 15:40
  • 1
    @Illa111 Ask this on Physics Stack Exchange or on Chemistry Stack Exchange.
    – AbduRahman
    Sep 28, 2022 at 16:55
  • 1
    Note that there are also other methods to date a manuscript; analysis of the writing (no consonant dots, little ligature) have contributed to date the lower manuscript.
    – Jeschu
    Sep 28, 2022 at 17:14

1 Answer 1


You are correct. Radiocarbon dating can only date the age of the parchment itself, but it can't date the ink or the writing on that parchment.

Dating of the text itself relies on palaeography and/or codicology, which are complex studies that are well outside of the scope of this site, relying on many factors such as the subtle changes in alphabet and handwriting styles over time, materials and pigments used, as well as understanding the times and cultures involved, not to mention any documented history of the manuscript itself.

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