Radiocarbon dating with temporal order constraints

Geoff Nicholls and Martin Jones


A Bayesian method has been proposed for analysing radiocarbon
dates. The method takes into account stratigraphic constraints
on recovered calendar dates. We find that the non-informative
priors in use in the literature apply a bias towards wider date
ranges which is not in general supported by substantial prior
knowledge. We recommend using a prior which has a uniform
marginal date range. We show how such priors are derived from
a model of the deposition and observation process. We apply
the method to relatively large data sets, examining the effect
that various priors have on the reconstructed dates.

radiocarbon dating, stratigraphy, order constraint, Bayesian inference, MCMC

Math Review Classification

Last Updated
17 February 1999

20 pages

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