Reference Materials for Radiocarbon Dating

Prehistoric monument on Orkney

Research in the Statstics and Data Analytics group has developed the extensive set of radiocarbon (14C) reference materials that underpin radiocarbon dating (determining the age of an object) worldwide. Tens of thousands of 14C measurements are commissioned every year (collectively worth >£17.5 million/annum) in support of practitioners and organisations involved in cultural and environmental heritage activities that rely on, radiocarbon chronologies. Statistical research designed the experiments, and developed the statistical models that allowed the formal characterisation of these unique reference materials which are now recognised as international standards, underpinning laboratory accuracy and precision of the dates used in heritage and environmental investigations.