Dating Temporal Intervals Using Age Determinations Subject to Measurement Error

Author(s): Keith Kintigh; George Cowgill

Year: 2020


A common archaeological task is the assignment of starting and ending dates to a temporal interval given a set of age-determinations that contain inherent measurement errors, such as radiocarbon or obsidian hydration dates. Intuitive methods of inferring these intervals do not correctly or systematically account for the expectable effects of sampling error when estimating interval lengths. We propose way to think about and examine the expectable joint effects of the error associated with sampling events within an interval and of the measurement errors of the dated samples. We then present and evaluate the effectiveness of a Monte Carlo method that works backwards from a collection of observed dates with known random measurement errors to estimate the true starting and ending dates of an interval. Those explorations are followed by a few real-world applications.

Cite this Record

Dating Temporal Intervals Using Age Determinations Subject to Measurement Error. Keith Kintigh, George Cowgill. 2020 ( tDAR id: 458355) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8458355

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Keith Kintigh

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KWK-GLC_MonteCarlo_Interval_Estimation_V15.pdf 596.91kb Oct 29, 2020 Oct 29, 2020 10:10:03 AM Public
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