Welcome to BCal

BCal is an easy to use, on-line Bayesian radiocarbon calibration tool for interpreting radiocarbon data along with expert chronological information. It is hosted by the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Sheffield.

BCal is designed for use by researchers already familiar with radiocarbon dating and calibration. The software has a step-by-step, user-friendly interface, but you will still need to decide how your data, ideas and knowledge are represented. This means that the results you get are based on information elicited from you and so you need to be able to justify your choices to others — especially if you plan to use the results in a peer-reviewed publication.

All of the Bayesian statistical models and methods implemented in BCal are documented in refereed literature and are reviewed in Chapter 9 of The Bayesian Approach to Interpreting Archaeological Data by Caitlin E. Buck, William G. Cavanagh and Clifford D. Litton. If you feel that you need to read some more to familiarise yourself with the details of radiocarbon calibration, please see the texts listed in the bibliography section of the general BCal information page.

The Information page provides an introduction to the service. To get started, check the Tutorial and Registration pages.

Please cite BCal correctly

The BCal team comprises Caitlin Buck, Geoff Boden, Andrés Christen, Gary James and Fred Sonnenwald, who volunteer their time. When you write up results arising from BCal, please cite our work correctly by giving the URL for the service (http://bcal.sheffield.ac.uk) and referencing the paper that launched it: Buck C.E., Christen J.A. and James G.N. (1999). BCal: an on- line Bayesian radiocarbon calibration tool. Internet Archaeology, 7. (http://intarch.ac.uk/journal/issue7/buck/).

Funding the service

BCal is funded partly by the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Sheffield and partly by charitable donations. We make no charge to those wishing to use BCal for entirely academic purposes, but commercial users are required to help fund the project and ALL users are asked to consider doing so. Institutions, companies and individuals who use this software commercially should contact the team (via Caitlin Buck).

US tax payers wishing to make tax deductible donations should use the form available here all other donors (including UK tax payers with Give as You Earn or Gift Aid donations) should use the form available here. Please send a letter accompanying your form making it clear that you wish the donation to be used solely for the BCal project.