One controversial example is the dating of a single layer of archaeology at the Bronze and Iron Age city buried at Tel Rehov.
Just a few decades of difference could help resolve an ongoing debate over the extent of Solomon's biblical kingdom, making findings like these more than a minor quibble in a politically contested part of the world."Our work indicates that it's arguable their fundamental basis is faulty – they are using a calibration curve that is not accurate for this region," says Manning.
The dating of remains is essential in archaeology, in order to place finds in correct relation to one another, and to understand what was present in the experience of any human being at a given time and place.
Inscribed objects sometimes bear an explicit date, or preserve the name of a dated individual. However, only a small number of objects are datable by inscriptions, and there are many specific problems with Egyptian chronology, so that even inscribed objects are rarely datable in absolute terms.
Over millennia the level of carbon-14 in the atmosphere changes, meaning measurements need to be calibrated against a chart that takes the atmospheric concentration into account, such as INTCAL13.
The current version of INTCAL13 is based on historical data from North America and Europe, and has a fairly broad resolution over thousands of years.
Artefacts often have a distinctive style or design, which developed over a period of time.
In archaeology, the gradual changes in motifs were exploited systematically as a dating method by researchers from Montelius onwards.
However, we do not even know the number of kings for all periods, and there is also the possibility that reigns overlapped by coregency or in times of political disunity.
The difference most likely comes down to changes in regional climates, such as warming conditions.
Extrapolating the findings back to earlier periods, archaeologists attempting to pinpoint Iron Age or Biblical events down to a few years would no doubt have a serious need to question their calibrations.
A comparison of radiocarbon ages across the Northern Hemisphere suggests we might have been a little too hasty in assuming how the isotope - also known as radiocarbon - diffuses, potentially shaking up controversial conversations on the timing of events in history.
By measuring the amount of carbon-14 in the annual growth rings of trees grown in southern Jordan, researchers have found some dating calculations on events in the Middle East – or, more accurately, the Levant – could be out by nearly 20 years.
By counting the tree rings, the team were able to create a reasonably accurate timeline of annual changes in carbon-14 uptake for those centuries.