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Comment on article by Blackwell and Buck

Millard, AR

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Radiocarbon dating has come a long way since Willard Libby first conceived of the method (Libby et al. 1949; Arnold and Libby 1949) that was to earn him a Nobel Prize. Today we might consider Libby to be lucky that he could not detect the deviation from the expected radiocarbon decay curve. This was due to a combination of the imprecision of his measurements and his known age samples only spanning the last 5000 years. If Libby had been able to make more precise measurements the technique might never have been developed as the fundamental assumptions would have appeared to have been breached from the very start. Of course the deviation of radiocarbon content of known age samples from the expected values was discovered within a few years of Libby’s initial publications and radiocarbon calibration curves have been in development ever since. The latest version of the calibration curve is INTCAL04 (Reimer et al. 2004), and owes its mathematical formulation to Buck and Blackwell (2004, Buck et al. 2006), and future curves will depend on their elaboration and extension of that description in the paper under discussion here.


Millard, A. (2008). Comment on article by Blackwell and Buck. Bayesian Analysis, 3(2), 255-262.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jun 1, 2008
Deposit Date May 12, 2011
Publicly Available Date May 31, 2011
Journal Bayesian Analysis
Print ISSN 1936-0975
Electronic ISSN 1931-6690
Publisher International Society for Bayesian Analysis (ISBA)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 3
Issue 2
Pages 255-262


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