Introduction to Bayesian Chronological Modeling
Bayesian chronological modeling revolutionized chronology building in archaeology. It provided a robust mathematical framework for incorporating all the dating information available, including radiocarbon dates, stratigraphy, artifact typologies, and the written historical record. The purpose of this seminar is to provide archaeologists with an introduction to the key concepts, assumptions, and terminology used in Bayesian chronological modeling; an overview of the basic structures and applications of age models; and an introduction to the “iterative approach” to sample selection and chronological modeling. We will introduce the audience to the several software options available for age modeling (OxCal, BCal, and various packages implemented in R) and compare their pros and cons. We will not provide a step-by-step “how to” for constructing models in any one program, but participants will receive a workbook and “quick start” guide for modeling in OxCal. This course will enable participants to understand and evaluate age models that they encounter in archaeological literature; will provide a necessary foundation for those interested in exploring how Bayesian models could contribute to their own projects; and will provide resources for those who wish to learn more about constructing chronological models. The intended audience includes those who have no previous experience in Bayesian chronological modeling.