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The Use of Bayesian Statistics to Increase both Precision and Accuracy in Radiocarbon Dating

Author(s): David Thulman

Year: 2015

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Many archaeologists struggle to make sense of radiocarbon dates, especially those with large overlapping sigmas. Even with modern analytical techniques that increase precision, the results can be confusing. Bayesian statistics, which employs prior information to constrain posterior results with sets of radiocarbon dates, can lessen confusion and increase precision without using ad hoc measures, such as averaging or ignoring dates with large errors. The power and utility of Bayesian analyses is demonstrated using the suite of dates from Dust Cave and sets of related dates from several Paleoindian and Early Archaic cultural phenomena in North America to clarify their relationships and infer population dynamics.

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The Use of Bayesian Statistics to Increase both Precision and Accuracy in Radiocarbon Dating. David Thulman. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395541)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America