Appendix: Where to Get Advice and Information
A: Historic England
The first point of contact within Historic England for general archaeological science enquiries, including those relating to radiocarbon dating and Bayesian Chronological Modelling, should be the Historic England science advisors, who can provide independent, non-commercial advice. They are based in the Historic England local offices.
Specialist advice on radiocarbon dating and Bayesian Chronological Modelling can be sought from the Historic England Scientific Dating Team:
Cannon Bridge House,
25 Dowgate Hill,
London EC4R 2YA
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: 07584 522 333 / 07584 522 816
B. Radiocarbon dating laboratories
All radiocarbon dating laboratories will be happy to advise on the technical aspects of radiocarbon dating that effect the selection of suitable samples, on suitable storage and packaging, and on the methods of sample preparation and dating used in their facility (see section 3.2.1, section 3.2.3, and section 3.6.1). Some will additionally be able to advise on the archaeological and statistical aspects of sample selection (see section 3.2.2 and section 3.3).
Laboratories put a great deal of skill and effort into dating the samples sent to them accurately, thus they welcome the opportunity to provide guidance on sample selection to ensure that together you provide the best dating possible for your samples.
A full list of radiocarbon laboratories is maintained by the journal Radiocarbon.
C. On-line resources
An Index to Radiocarbon Dates from Great Britain and Ireland contains basic information on more than 15,000 radiocarbon measurements. It was originally compiled by Cherry Lavell for the Council for British Archaeology, and it is comprehensive for samples from archaeological excavations until 1982, with some later additions in 1991 and 2001. Between 2007 and 2012 the index was updated with details of the measurements included in the Gathering Time project (Whittle et al. 2011), and with measurements funded by English Heritage before 1993.
More comprehensive details of measurements funded by Historic England (formerly English Heritage) can be found in the series of volumes of Radiocarbon Dates that are freely downloadable from the Historic England website (available as print-on-demand hard copy).
Details of many of the measurements undertaken by the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit can be found in their on-line database and published in a series of datelists in the journal Archaeometry.
Other datelists, particularly for measurements undertaken before c. 1980, can be found in the journal Radiocarbon.
A database of marine reservoir values is provided by the 14Chrono Centre, Queen’s University, Belfast.
A variety of freely-downloadable software is available for radiocarbon calibration, Bayesian Chronological Modelling, and dietary reconstruction. Some packages enable a wide range of models to be constructed, others are more specialised.
- Calib — on-line and downloadable versions available — described in Stuiver and Reimer (1993).
- IOSACal: open source radiocarbon calibration.
- MatCal — open source Bayesian 14C age calibration in Matlab — described in Lougheed and Obrochta (2016).
- rcarbon — downloadable software for the calibration and analysis of radiocarbon dates, which runs in the R software environment.
(b) Flexible Bayesian Chronological Modelling
- BCal — on-line program — described in Buck et al. (1999).
- OxCal — on-line and downloadable versions available; described in Bronk Ramsey (1995, 1998, 2001, 2008, 2009a–b, 2017), Bronk Ramsey et al. (2001; 2010), and Bronk Ramsey and Lee (2013).
(c) Specialist Bayesian Chronological Modelling
- Bacon — downloadable package for flexible Bayesian age-depth modelling, which runs in the R software environment, described in Blaauw and Christen (2011).
- Bchron — downloadable package for calibration of radiocarbon dates together with routines for age-depth modelling and relative sea level rate estimation, which runs in the R software environment, described in Haslett and Parnell (2008) and Parnell and Gehrels (2015).
- ChronoModel — an open source downloadable application that provides tools for constructing chronologies — described in Lanos and Dufresne (2019) and Lanos and Philippe (2017; 2018).
- Coffee — downloadable package that uses Bayesian methods to enforce the chronological ordering of radiocarbon dates, which runs in the R software environment.
(d) Classical statistical modelling
- Clam — downloadable software for ‘classical’, non-Bayesian, age-depth modelling — described in Blaauw (2010), which runs in the R software environment.
(e) Dietary mixing models
- FRUITS — downloadable software for Bayesian diet reconstruction from stable isotopic values — described by Fernandes et al. (2014).
- IsoSource — downloadable software, which calculates ranges of source proportional contributions to a mixture based on stable isotopes analysis — described by Phillips and Gregg (2003).
- simmr — downloadable program for Bayesian estimation of dietary proportions from stable isotopic values, which runs in the R software environment, described in Parnell et al. (2010; 2013).