The first calibration curve, published by Suess in 1967 (Suess 1967), was a wiggly thing arrived at by a process Suess called ‘cosmic schwung’. Later curves used more formal statistical methods, including Clark's published in ANTIQUITY (Clark 1975), which came to be one of the most used. It would be good to have the new standard curves available in ANTIQUITY, but they are far too bulky. We recommend the now-indispensable calibration issue of Radiocarbon (Stuiver & Kra 1986), which takes 230 large-format pages to set them out as tables, graphs and a computer program.
Gordon Pearson is the British end of the Anglo-American axis, with Minze Stuiver at the University of Washington, largely responsible for the new calibration. He summarizes what the calibration does and how best to work with it.
This paper is a guide to working with the Radiocarbon calibration issue in particular, as well as calibration curves in general. It therefore follows the conventions for calibrated and uncalibrated dates that are presented there, rather than ANTIQUITY's normal convention.