## CAA UK 2001 - Abstract

**Data, formulae or compututation: what limits radiocarbon calibration?**

Dr. Andrew Millard

Department of Archaeology

University of Durham, South Rd, Durham DH1 3LE

A.R.Millard@durham.ac.uk

http://www.dur.ac.uk/a.r.millard/

The calibration of radiocarbon dates is producing more and more precise
age estimates, but how good are they and what limits their accuracy? There
are three main components of the calibration process, given data on
samples: the calibration data points, the mathematical model used and the
actual calculations. This paper will examine the three components in turn
in order to answer the question of the title. It turns out that the data
points aren't strictly data, but are already mathematically modelled, and
the mathematical model doesn't take account of this. Only when these are
resolved is it worth improving the computation.

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