BCal Glossary

This glossary defines several terms used within BCal and its documentation.

absolute (a priori) chronological information:  Absolute a priori chronological information provides insight into the true calendar date of individual parameters.

BCal project: A BCal project contains the calibration definition and associated calibration settings for a single archaeological calibration project.

calibration definition: A calibration definition contains information (which is to be calibrated) that a user has supplied (e.g. radiocarbon data and a priori chronological information).

determination: A single radiocarbon determination consists of a radiocarbon age and associated standard error as provided by a radiocarbon dating laboratory.

determination parameter:  A determination parameter represents the true calendar date for a determination or pooled mean of determinations.

floating parameter:  Floating parameters are used to represent chronological events within the archaeological sequence, such as a known historical date, that provide extra temporal information, but which cannot be represented by a determination parameter or a group boundary parameter.

group: A group is a coherent collection of radiocarbon determinations. For example, but not limited to, determinations found within the same archaeological phase or sequence.

group boundary parameter: Each group has two boundary parameters (early and late).  These bound the determination parameters within that group.  These parameters represent the calendar dates for the start and end of the group.

parameter:  A parameter represents a temporal event with the chronology.  Associated with the parameters is the true calendar date of that event.  In BCal, possible types of parameter are determination parameters, group boundary parameters and floating parameters.

pooled mean: A collection of determinations assumed to date the same archaeological event.  BCal computes from these a weighted average as part of the calibration proces.

relative (a priori) chronological information: Relative a priori chronological information provides insight into the ordering of groups, determinations and floating parameters. It is usually recorded during archaeological excavation or other research.