15th November, 1960
Thank you for your letter of November 3rd.
I should like first to assure you that I am in complete agreement with your views about the desirability of conducting as many tests as possible on material from Egypt of all dates and not merely the earliest periods.
We in this Museum, however, are faced with two difficulties. The first and greater is the smallness of the scale on which we can conduct our tests, and the second is the lack of really safe, uncontaminated material. If I mention that during the past six months it has only been possible to complete four tests you will understand how slow progress must be. Furthermore, the claims of European archaeology, to say nothing of the Far East are as pressing as those of the Middle East.
I feel sure that the Middle Eastern tests will be carried out but the work must be spread over. the various laboratories which are now able to undertake Carbon 14 tests. It cannot all be done in this Museum.
I shall pass on your letter to my colleagues in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities. Perhaps they will be able to suggest some suitable material for settling the questions relating to their fields.
I had not noticed that Professor Libby had been awarded the Nobel Prize. I feel it is a very meritorious award and I am grateful to you for informing me about it.
I. E. S. Edwards