Next-generation Radiocarbon Calibration: Incorporating information on calibration curve covariance

A project to develop, and test, new radiocarbon calibration tools that will enable environmental and archaeological scientists to use more of the information held within the IntCal20 radiocarbon calibration curves. These curves are traditionally published as pointwise means and errors. However, this reduction to simple pointwise summaries has the consequence that crucial information, such as on the curve’s covariance, is entirely lost to calibration users. Covariance in the calibration curve may be critical to those seeking highly-detailed dating inference: particularly to answer key questions on processes that need a precise understanding of the duration of events and the order in which they occurred; or when fitting more complex chronological models. We will investigate the significance of curve covariance on a suite of frequently-used radiocarbon based chronological modelling techniques.