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Bayesian calibration of radiocarbon dates – from blurring towards refinement of chronological information

May 19, 2021 , 13:00 14:00

Speaker: Prof. Tomasz Goslar
Affiliation: Poznan Radiocarbon Laboratory, Poznań, Poland
Link to MSTeams meeting

Past fluctuations of radiocarbon concentration (of 14C/12C ratio) in the atmospheric CO2, caused that radiocarbon age (that can be measured in 14C laboratory) as a function of time (of calendar date) has a form of wiggly line (called as “calibration curve”). For that reason, determination of calendar date of a sample analysed with 14C (called as “calibrated 14C date”), has a form of probability distribution that is complex in shape and usually covers time interval much wider than the uncertainty of 14C age itself. Accuracy of calendar age determination can be largely improved by dating series of samples, given the relationships between their calendar dates are a priori known. The main tools of Bayesian modelling the dates of such series, concern sequences (defined or undefined) and phases, and utilisation of these tools in e.g. dating artefacts from the earliest time of the Polish state, allowed to reduce uncertainty of calendar dating to single decades only.

Bibliography

1. Bronk Ramsey C. 2009. Bayesian analysis of radiocarbon dates. Radiocarbon, 51, 337-360.

2. Goslar T., van der Knaap W.O., van Leeuwen J., Kamenik Ch. 2009. Free-shape 14C age-depth modelling of an intensively dated modern peat profile, Journal of Quaternary Science, 24, 481-499.

3. Goslar T. Pawlak E., Wyrwa A.M. 2021. Datowanie zabytków Ostrowa Lednickiego na podstawie analizy bayesowskiej dat radiowęglowych. W: Banaszak D., Kowalczyk A., Tabaka A., Wyrwa A.M. (red): Ostrów Lednicki – palatium Mieszka I i Bolesława Chrobrego. Chronologia i kontekst. FONTES. Biblioteka Studiów Lednickich, seria B1, tom 9, 323-350.

4. Goslar T., Kara M. to be published. Bayesowski model chronologiczny wczesnośredniowiecznych faz kulturowo-osadniczych z przełomu I i II tysiąclecia w środkowej Wielkopolsce, na podstawie datowania 14C próbek z badań archeologicznych w Gieczu, Gnieźnie i Poznaniu. W: Kara M. (red.): Uściślenie i weryfikacja chronologii oraz periodyzacji grodów tzw. centralnych monarchii pierwszych Piastów (Gniezno, Poznań, Giecz) na podstawie akceleratorowych datowań radiowęglowych. Instytut Archeologii i Etnologii PAN, Warszawa

5. Kara M. 2006. Nowe w archeologii Wielkopolski wczesnośredniowiecznej – 15 lat później. W: Chudziak W. MoździochS. (red.): Stan i potrzeby badań nad wczesnym średniowieczem w Polsce – 15 lat później. Toruń, 207-244.

6. Makarowicz P., Goslar T., Niebieszczański J., Cwaliński M., Kochkin I.T., Romaniszyn J., Lysenko S.D., Ważny T. 2018. Middle Bronze Age societies and barrow line chronology. A case study from the Bukivna ‘necropolis’, Upper Dniester Basin, Ukraine. Journal of Archaeological Science, 95, 40-51.

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Seminar language: English
Chairman: Prof. Jarosław W. Kłos