This article contains my analysis of Fomenko’s History: Fiction or Science?, Volume 1, Chapter 1, Part 15.1.1. Chapter 1.15 is titled “ARE RADIOCARBON DATINGS TO BE TRUSTED?”, part 1.15.1 is titled “the medieval datings of ancient, mediaeval, and modern specimens are scattered chaotically”, and part 18.104.22.168 is titled “Libby’s initial idea. The first failures”.
I established a 25 claims with a total of 29 possible points. Out of the 29, I determined 21 (72.41%) to be supported or contradicted. Out of the 21, I determined 18 (85.71%) to be supported and 3 (14.28%) to be contradicted.
Total Determined: 24/29 (82.75%)
Total Supported: 19/24 (79.16%)
Total contradicted 5/24 (20.83%)
As of right now, Fomenko’s grade on this part is 79.16% (19/24), which is a C+.
Fomenko’s overall grade is shown on the overview article: Examining Fomenko’s New Chronology.
The things he got wrong are significant. All three points hinge on the determination of Claim 19. I can’t say for certain whether Fomenko has intentionally or unintentionally misrepresented what Libby said, but Claims 20 and 22 are used to drive home the point being made in Claim 19. I’d like to get feedback about Claim 19 to see if you think my judgement of contradicted is warranted, or if possibly it could be made to be undetermined or supported.
Lastly, before continuing, I want to make note of Claims 24 and 25. Claim 24 is dependent on the determination of Claim 25 and Claim 25 references a magazine which I’m not sure exists. If it does not exist, I’m interested in seeing if possibly Fomenko was shown a forged document or if he came up with this himself. If it does exist, please contact me with information about it. I spent a good deal of time trying to locate it and met no success.
Fomenko’s Carbon Dating has about 8 or 9 parts, depending on how I chop them up. I mention this to inform you that this is only part 1, abbreviated as (P.1) in the title. I think it’s important to mention this because this section is not his complete analysis of carbon dating, just one part. I will also mention that this first part has raised my skepticism about Fomenko’s competency pertaining to carbon dating.
Fomenko used 3 references for this part. I found certainly reviewed 1 of them , I think I reviewed another , and the 3rd exists but I have not yet been able to review it . I’ve added my own citations below to where you can find Fomenko’s citations in my references at the end of this article.
The 3 references provided by Fomenko are: , , .
 – Klein L.S. “Archeology Argues with Physics (continued)”. – Journal “Nature”, 1966, No.3, p.94-107.
“Kleyn, L. S, Arkheologiya sporit s fizikoy – Spor o dostovernosti i tochnosti radiouglerodnoy khronologii [Archeology argues with physics – The controversy over the reliability and accuracy of radiocarbon chronology]: Priroda. no. 2. p.51-62, and no. 3. p.94-107, illus., 1966.”[3, p.1042], 
 – Libby W.F. “Carbon-14 – Nuclear Chronometer of Archeology”. – The UNESCO Courier, 1968, No.7 (No.139).
 – Oleinikov A. “Geological clock”. – L., Nedra, 1975.
“The most popular method claiming the capability of dating ancient artefacts independently is the
Claim 1 is supported. Radiocarbon dating is widely considered the most reliable method for dating ancient artefacts.
“However, the accumulation of the radiocarbon datings has exposed the difficulty of the method’s application.”
Claim 2 is supported. The original ideas behind the radiocarbon method have been met with numerous difficulties. Some of these issues have been discussed, and a smaller number have been reportedly been resolved, but many issues still exists (bias from the scientists, variability in the carbon reservoir throughout time, and other sources of distortion).
“According to Oleinikov,
“Another problem had to be considered. The intensity of the atmospheric radiation is affected by many cosmic factors. The radioactive carbon isotope production rate should also vary, and one needs to find a method that would consider these variations. Apart from that, over the period when highways and industrial plants have been introduced by the civilization, a gigantic amount of carbon from the combustion of wood, coal, oil, turf, oil-shales and their products emanated into the atmosphere. How does this atmospheric carbon affect the production of its radioactive isotope? In order to get veracious datings, one has to introduce complex corrections into calculations that reflect the changes in the content of the atmosphere over the last millennium. This issue, as well as a number of technical difficulties, casts a shadow of doubt over the precision of many radiocarbon datings.” (, page 103)”
Claim 3 is supported. Although I haven’t reviewed Fomenko’s source yet, this is fairly common knowledge in carbon dating circles.
“W. F. Libby, the author of the method, wasn’t a historian, and did not question the veracity of the Scaligerian datings, which were used for the justification of his method according to his book.”
Claim 4 is supported. Libby was a physical chemist and did use accepted dates as justification for his method.
“However, the archaeologist Vladimir Miloicic had proved this method to give random errors of 1000-2000 years, while its “independent” dating of the ancient specimens faithfully follows the datings offered by the consensual chronology.”
Vladimir Milojčić (1918-1978)
Claim 5 is contradicted. The citation Fomenko gives does not mention Miloicic “proving” carbon dating to give random errors of 1000-2000 years but it does mention Miloicic noting that a deviation in the decay rate of 5 decays is equivalent to a deviation of 3000 years. In the following paragraph there are some examples of misdating but the largest one is only 1200 years off.
Naturally, there can be no talk of “proof” here (, pages 94-95).”
Claim 6 is supported. I mark this as supported because 3000 years is a massive difference for half life calculations and hardly constitutes proof of accuracy.
“Let us quote some rather meaningful details. As we have already noted, W. F. Libby had a priori been certain of the veracity of Scaliger’s datings.”
I’m leaving these two sentences out because it’s a repeat of claim 4.
“He wrote that they “…had no contradictions with the historians in what concerned ancient Rome and Egypt. We did not conduct extensive research related to this epoch [sic! – A. F.], since its chronology in general is known to the archaeologists a lot better than whatever our methods could estimate, so the archaeologists were doing us a favour providing specimens [which are actually destroyed, being burned in the radiocarbon measurement process – A. F.]”(, page 24).”
Claim 7 is supported. I marked this supported although the quote has been somewhat altered. The reason I marked it supported is because I think it being translated to Russian and then back to English is a valid explanation. If there’s reason why this reason is invalid, please let me know.
Here’s the original quote:
“Throughout Roman and Egyptian history, we have no disagreements. We haven’t had very many measurements to make because in general the archeologists know the dates better than we can measure them, and it is usually as a favour that they give us samples.”
Willard F. Libby (1968)[5, p.24]
“This confession of Libby’s tells us a lot, since the deficiencies of the Scaligerian chronology directly concern the regions and epochs that he and his team “did not research extensively enough.””
Claim 8 is supported. Also to note, there were multiple exceptions to the dates of Egyptian artifacts, to which they were shrugged off as forgeries, not issues with the carbon dating method.
“We can see that the Scaligerian archaeologists had been most reluctant about letting the radiocarbon method enter the “certainty epochs” of Scaliger’s history for fear of uncovering embarrassing discoveries.”
Claim 9 is undetermined. I have this marked undetermined because determining intent is difficult and I don’t know if fear was the primary motive for not contributing more samples. Attempts to avoid embarrassment do occur in the world and so it’s not outside the realm of possibility.
“Archaeologists have naturally no objections against applying this method to the undocumented prehistory since nothing capable of compromising consensual chronology can possibly be found there.”
Claim 10 is supported. There is no chance of some core piece of history needing to be corrected when testing on things that lay outside the realm of already written history. It’s much different dating core pieces of evidence for history that falls within the era of written history.
“In what concerns the several reference measurements that were conducted on ancient artefacts, the situation is as follows. The radiocarbon dating of the Egyptian collection of J. H. Breasted “suddenly discovered the third object that we analyzed to have been contemporary,” according to Libby. “It was one of the findings… that had been considered… to belong to the V dynasty [2563-2423 b.c., or roughly four millennia before our time. – A. F.]. It had been a heavy blow indeed” (, page 24).”
Claim 11 is supported, supported, and supported. Again, there is alteration but I think this is from the English to Russian to English translations. Instead of “It had been a heavy blow indeed”, the passage read “This was a dark day”.[5, p.24]
Also, I kept these sentences all together for the sake of clarity, but I am giving claim 11 a total of 3 points instead of 1. Fomenko reported the correct owner of the collection, the correct quote from his source, the correct information outside of the quote, and the correct citation.
“Why could it have been such a blow? The physicists appear to have restored the veracious dating of the Egyptian specimen, proving the old one to have been wrong.”
Claim 12 is supported. The new dating was proof that the old dating was wrong.
“What’s the problem with that? The problem is of course the simple fact that any such dating would prove a menace to the Scaligerian chronology. Carrying on in that vein would lead Libby to compromising the entire history of ancient Egypt.”
Claim 13 is undetermined. The claim sounds like it could be tested. I’m making a note here to explore carbon dates for Egyptian artifacts. I think this can help with determining claim 13.
“The specimen that Libby had been careless enough to have claimed as modern had to be called a forgery and disposed of (, page 24), which is only natural since the archaeologists could not have possibly let the heretical thought of the XVI-XVII century a.d. (considering the method’s precision) origin of the “ancient” Egyptian finding enter their minds.”
Claim 14 is supported and supported. The object was deemed a forgery because carbon dating was considered more reliable than the methods previously used to date the object. I’m giving claim 14 two points, one for the part of the sentence before the comma and another for the remainder.
““The evidence that they [the proponents of the method – A. F.] use for proving the veracity of their method is rather insubstantial, with all the indications being indirect, the calculations imprecise, and the interpretation ambiguous, the main argument being the radiocarbon datings of the specimens whose age is known for certain used for reference… Every time referential measurements are mentioned, everybody quotes the results of the first referential datings that had been obtained for a very limited number of specimens [sic! – A. F.]” (, page 104).”
Claim 15 is supported. This is a quote from Kleyn.
“Libby recognizes the absence of substantial referential statistics.”
Claim 16 is undetermined. I’m not sure exactly what is meant here. Libby does mention that materials were not lacking, and so I’m inclined to label Claim 16 as contradicted.
“Together with the millenarian dating deviations mentioned above (explained as a consequence of a series of forgeries), we may thus question the very validity of the method as used for dating specimens belonging to the period that we’re interested in, covering the two millennia preceding our century.”
Claim 17 is supported. Given the above information, I think there is reason to question the validity of dates obtained through carbon dating. As well as other information I’ve read, I think there’s reason to not accept them too hastily.
“This discussion does not pertain to the use of the method for geological purposes, however, where millenarian deviations are considered insubstantial.”
Claim 18 is supported.
“W. F. Libby writes that “there was no deficiency in materials belonging to the epoch preceding ours by 3700 years for checking the precision and the dependability of the method” (, pages 24-25).”
Claim 19 is contradicted. I’m fairly confident Libby says the exact opposite. Based on Fomenko’s next claim, I think he’s saying that Libby wrote that there were plenty of objects dating prior to 3700 years BP, but I think Libby was really writing about object dating within the past 3700 years BP.
Whether this was intentional or a mistake resulting from the language barrier, I don’t know.
Libby’s exact quote was:
“There has been no serious shortage of materials back to about 3,700 years with which we could check the reliability and accuracy…”
– Libby (1968)[5, p.24]
I could be wrong. I think it’s somewhat odd that Libby says the above shortly after saying “We haven’t had very many measurements to make…” for Roman and Egyptian history, both incredibly important histories. Maybe there’s no shortage but also they haven’t dated much of anything?
“However, there is nothing here to compare radiocarbon datings to, since there are no dated written documents belonging to those epochs.”
Claim 20 is contradicted. Due to claim 20 being based on Claim 19, it’s naturally contradicted by supported information. This will change if Claim 19’s determination changes.
“Libby also informs us that his historian acquaintances “are perfectly certain of the veracity of the datings referring to the last 3750 years, however, their certainty does not spread as far as the events that precede this era” (, pages 24-25).”
Claim 21 is supported.[5, p.24]
“In other words, the radiocarbon method has been used most extensively for the period of time that doesn’t allow the verification of the results by any other independent method, which makes life a lot easier for the historians.”
Claim 22 is contradicted. As with Claim 20, Claim 22 is dependent on Claim 19’s determination. I’ve also seen historians eager for carbon dating to be applied so that dates obtained can be used. I don’t think the majority of historians dread carbon dating, but it would be interesting to do a poll to gage that. I could see waiting on results being anxiety inducing, having to wait to see if you’ve been vindicated or condemned.
“The example that we quote below is most typical.
“The radiocarbon datings of the three inscription bearing plaques found in Romania have put archaeologists in a quandary… The ashes that they had been found in prove them to be 6000 years old at the very least. Could the discovery of literacy have happened in a rural community in Europe and not in the urban and highly-developed Sumerian civilization? [Such an awful lot of space for the flight of exalted fantasy – A. F.] The scientists consider this probability to be very low… There have been many theories put forward for the explanation of this discovery that apparently refuted the reigning opinion on the origins of written language. Some of the archaeologists, without doubting the scientific principles of the radiocarbon method have suggested the method to be error prone due to the effects of factors that haven’t been studied as of yet” (, page 29).”
Claim 23 is undetermined. The quote is correct. But is this example typical? I’d like to see some statistics of carbon dating results.
“Could it be that the errors of the method are rather insubstantial and allow for an approximate dating of the specimens belonging to the last two or three millennia? The state of affairs appears to be a graver one. The errors of radiocarbon dating are too great and too chaotic. They can amount to several millennia in what concerns contemporary and mediaeval objects (q.v. below).
Claim 24 is contradicted and supported. I don’t think the errors are too great and chaotic to be worked with but they can amount to several thousand years on occasion in contemporary and medieval objects.
“In 1984 the Technology and Science magazine had published the results of the radiocarbon method-related discussions from the two symposiums in Edinburgh and Stockholm (No 3, page 9):
“Hundreds [sic!] of analysis examples were quoted with dating errors ranging from 600 to 1800 years. In Stockholm the scientists lamented the fact that the radiocarbon method appears to produce the greatest distortions when applied to the history of ancient Egypt in the epoch preceding ours by 4000 years. There are other examples, some of them referring to the history of Balkan civilizations… Specialists have reached solidarity in their opinion that the radiocarbon method remains ambiguous due to the impossibility of proper calibration, which renders it unacceptable since it gives no calendarian datings.””
Claim 25 is undetermined. Thanks goes to Euanthes for commenting on this post and helping me sort this claim out more than I had by myself. The Russian name for the magazine is Техника и наука and in 1991 it was changed to ИНЖЕНЕР (Engineer).
In October 1982, there was a conference in Edinburgh about carbon dating.
 – “Geophysical Abstracts: Issues 234-239” (July, 1966). https://www.google.com/books/edition/Geophysical_Abstracts/YzrUpje-u7sC?hl=en&gbpv=0. Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.
 – Kleyn, L. S, Arkheologiya sporit s fizikoy – Spor o dostovernosti i tochnosti radiouglerodnoy khronologii [Archeology argues with physics – The controversy over the reliability and accuracy of radiocarbon chronology]: Priroda. no. 2. p.51-62, and no. 3. p.94-107, illus., 1966. https://textarchive.ru/c-2179111-pall.html. Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.
 – Willard F. Libby, Carbon 14 – Nuclear clock for archeology. The UNESCO Courier, “Peaceful Uses of the Atom” (1968). https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000078306. Accessed 18 Mar. 2021.
 – https://achs.edu/grading-scale. Accessed 19 Mar. 2021.
 – Burleigh, R. (1984). Barbara S. Ottaway (ed.): Archaeology, dendrochronology and the radiocarbon calibration curve. Edinburgh: University Department of Archaeology Occasional Paper No. 9, 1983. 106 pp., 11 figs. £4.95. Antiquity, 58(224), 240-240. doi:10.1017/S0003598X00056465. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/antiquity/article/abs/barbara-s-ottaway-ed-archaeology-dendrochronology-and-the-radiocarbon-calibration-curve-edinburgh-university-department-of-archaeology-occasional-paper-no-9-1983-106-pp-11-figs-495/93E91E94DC20D219582DCF869F8032BC. Accessed 28 Mar. 2021.
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