# Bayesian radiocarbon dating

### Index

- Can Bayesian analysis be used for 14 C dates?
- What is radiocarbon dating?
- How is Bayesian analysis used today?
- How far back can radiocarbon be used to date?
- Can Bayesian statistics be used to report 14C radiocarbon dates?
- Can Bayesian statistics be used to analyse groups of dates?
- What is Bayesian analysis and how is it used?
- Is the 14 C ratio Bayesian in nature?
- What is a Bayesian approach to data analysis?
- What can we learn from recent Bayesian successes?
- What is the difference between Bayesian analysis and prior distribution?
- What are the advantages of Bayesian inference?

### Can Bayesian analysis be used for 14 C dates?

Bayesian analysis is now widely used in the interpretation of 14 C dates. The models can be very sim- ple, in many cases involving only a single group of events. Even in these cases, a surprising amount data than is possible by “eye-balling” a set of calibrated dates.

### What is radiocarbon dating?

**Radiocarbon dating** (also referred to as carbon **dating** or carbon-14 **dating**) is a method for determining the age of an object containing organic material by using the properties of **radiocarbon**, a radioactive isotope of carbon. The method was developed in the late 1940s at the University of Chicago by Willard Libby.

### How is Bayesian analysis used today?

When Bayesian analysis was introduced, its use was limited by the need to use mainframe computers to perform the calculations, but the technique has since been implemented on programs available for personal computers, such as OxCal. Several formats for citing radiocarbon results have been used since the first samples were dated.

### How far back can radiocarbon be used to date?

These techniques can allow measurement of dates up to 60,000 and in some cases up to 75,000 years before the present. Radiocarbon dates are generally presented with a range of one standard deviation (usually represented by the Greek letter sigma as 1σ) on either side of the mean.

### Can Bayesian statistics be used to report 14C radiocarbon dates?

The use of Bayesian statistics for 14C dates of chronologically ordered samples: a critical analysis. Radiocarbon 42 ( 2 ):183–98. CrossRef Google Scholar Stuiver, M, Polach, HA. 1977. Discussion: reporting of 14C data.

### Can Bayesian statistics be used to analyse groups of dates?

The use of Bayesian statistics for the analysis of groups of dates is becoming a common way to integrate all of the ¹⁴ C evidence together. However, the models most often used make a number of assumptions that may not always be appropriate.

### What is Bayesian analysis and how is it used?

Bayesian analysis is now widely used in the interpretation of 14 C dates. The models can be very sim- ple, in many cases involving only a single group of events. Even in these cases, a surprising amount data than is possible by “eye-balling” a set of calibrated dates. ponents and the mathematics underlying such models is essentially the same.

### Is the 14 C ratio Bayesian in nature?

Leese 1995) and is essentially Bayesian in nature. We define the actual 14 C ratio of the sample for i. W e also have information y i from the measurement, which is usually expressed as a mean and standard uncertainty r i ± s i. This gives: Polach 1977) or a ratio (F 14 C, Reimer et al. 2004). For measurements close to background, however,