Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-sh8wx Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-23T05:06:27.875Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Conventions for Reporting Radiocarbon Determinations

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 February 2016

Andrew R Millard*
Department of Archaeology, Durham University, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK. Email:


Current conventions for reporting radiocarbon determinations do not cover the reporting of calibrated dates. This article proposes revised conventions that have been endorsed by many 14C scientists. For every determination included in a scientific paper, the following should apply: (1) the laboratory measurement should be reported as a conventional radiocarbon age in 14C yr BP or a fractionation-corrected fraction modern (F14C) value; (2) the laboratory code for the determination should be included; and (3) the sample material dated, the pretreatment method applied, and quality control measurements should be reported. In addition, for every calibrated determination or modeled date, the following should be reported: (4) the calibration curve and any reservoir offset used; (5) the software used for calibration, including version number, the options and/or models used, and wherever possible a citation of a published description of the software; and (6) the calibrated date given as a range (or ranges) with an associated probability on a clearly identifiable calendar timescale.

Methodology: Generaland Bones
Copyright © 2014 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Blaauw, M. 2010. Methods and code for ‘classical’ age-modelling of radiocarbon sequences. Quaternary Geochronology 5(5):512–8.Google Scholar
Blaauw, M, Christen, JA. 2005. Radiocarbon peat chronologies and environmental change. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series C-Applied Statistics 54(4):805–16.Google Scholar
Blaauw, M, Christen, JA. 2011. Flexible paleoclimate age-depth models using an autoregressive gamma process. Bayesian Analysis 6(3):457–74.Google Scholar
Bronk Ramsey, C. 2009. Bayesian analysis of radiocarbon dates. Radiocarbon 51(4):337–60.Google Scholar
Buck, CE, Christen, JA, James, GN. 1999. BCal: an online Bayesian radiocarbon calibration tool. Internet Archaeology 7: Scholar
Fairbanks, RG, Mortlock, RA, Chiu, TC, Cao, L, Kaplan, A, Guilderson, TP, Fairbanks, TW, Bloom, AL, Grootes, PM, Nadeau, MJ. 2005. Radiocarbon calibration curve spanning 0 to 50,000 years BP based on paired 230Th/234U/238U and 14C dates on pristine corals. Quaternary Science Reviews 24(16–17):1781–96.Google Scholar
Flint, R, Deevey, ES. 1961. Editorial statement. Radiocarbon 3:iii.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Flint, R, Deevey, ES. 1962. Editorial statement. Radiocarbon 4:iii.Google Scholar
Haslett, J, Parnell, A. 2008. A simple monotone process with application to radiocarbon-dated depth chronologies. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series C-Applied Statistics 57(4):399418.Google Scholar
Klein, J, Lerman, JC, Damon, PE, Timothy, L. 1980. Radiocarbon concentration in the atmosphere; 8000-year record of variations in tree rings; first results of a USA workshop. Radiocarbon 22(3):950–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Klein, J, Lerman, JC, Damon, PE, Ralph, EK. 1982. Calibration of radiocarbon dates: tables based on the consensus data of the Workshop on Calibrating the Radiocarbon Time Scale. Radiocarbon 24(2):103–50.Google Scholar
Libby, WF, Anderson, EC, Arnold, JR. 1949. Age determination by radiocarbon content: world wide assay of natural radiocarbon. Science 109(2827):227–8.Google Scholar
Long, A. 1995. From the editor. Radiocarbon 37(1):iiiiv.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mook, W. 1986. Business meeting: recommendations/resolutions adopted by the Twelfth International Radiocarbon Conference. Radiocarbon 28(2A):799.Google Scholar
Mook, W, van der Plicht, J. 1999. Reporting 14C activities and concentrations. Radiocarbon 41(3):227–39.Google Scholar
Mook, WG, Waterbolk, HT. 1985. Radiocarbon Dating. Strasbourg: European Science Foundation.Google Scholar
Nadeau, M-J, Grootes, PM. 2013. Calculation of the compounded uncertainty of 14C AMS measurements. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 294:420–5.Google Scholar
Olsson, IU. 1970. The use of oxalic acid as a standard. In: Olsson, IU, editor. Radiocarbon Variations and Absolute Chronology. New York: John Wiley & Sons. p 17.Google Scholar
Reimer, PJ, Brown, TA, Reimer, RW. 2004. Discussion: reporting and calibration of post-bomb 14C data. Radiocarbon 46(3):1299–304.Google Scholar
Reimer, PJ, Baillie, MGL, Bard, E, Bayliss, A, Beck, JW, Blackwell, PG, Bronk Ramsey, C, Buck, CE, Burr, GS, Edwards, RL, Friedrich, M, Grootes, PM, Guilderson, TP, Hajdas, I, Heaton, TJ, Hogg, AG, Hughen, KA, Kaiser, KF, Kromer, B, McCormac, FG, Manning, SW, Reimer, RW, Richards, DA, Southon, JR, Talamo, S, Turney, CSM, van der Plicht, J, Weyhenmeyer, CE. 2009. IntCal09 and Marine09 radiocarbon age calibration curves, 0–50,000 years cal BP. Radiocarbon 51(4):1111–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Reimer, PJ, Bard, E, Bayliss, A, Beck, JW, Blackwell, PG, Bronk Ramsey, C, Buck, CE, Cheng, H, Edwards, RL, Friedrich, M, Grootes, PM, Guilderson, TP, Haflidason, H, Hajdas, I, Hatté, C, Heaton, TJ, Hoffmann, DL, Hogg, AG, Hughen, KA, Kaiser, KF, Kromer, B, Manning, SW, Niu, M, Reimer, RW, Richards, DA, Scott, EM, Southon, JR, Staff, RA, Turney, CSM, van der Plicht, J. 2013. IntCal13 and Marine13 radiocarbon age calibration curves 0–50,000 years cal BP. Radiocarbon 55(4):1869–87.Google Scholar
Royal Society. 1974. General Notes on the Preparation of Scientific Papers. London: Royal Society.Google Scholar
Stuiver, M. 1980. Workshop on 14C data reporting. Radiocarbon 22(3):964–6.Google Scholar
Stuiver, M. 1983. Business meeting: international agreements and the use of the new oxalic acid standard. Radiocarbon 25(2):793–5.Google Scholar
Stuiver, M, Polach, HA. 1977. Discussion: reporting of 14C data. Radiocarbon 19(3):355–63.Google Scholar
Stuiver, M, Reimer, PJ. 1993. Extended 14C data base and revised CALIB 3.0 14C age calibration program. Radiocarbon 35(1):215–30.Google Scholar
Stuiver, M, Reimer, PJ, Bard, E, Beck, JW, Burr, GS, Hughen, KA, Kromer, B, McCormac, G, van der Plicht, J, Spurk, M. 1998. INTCAL98 radiocarbon age calibration, 24,000–0 BR Radiocarbon 40(3):1041–83.Google Scholar
Svensson, A, Andersen, KK, Bigler, M, Clausen, HB, Dahl-Jensen, D, Davies, SM, Johnsen, SJ, Muscheler, R, Rasmussen, SO, Rothlisberger, R, Steffensen, JP, Vintner, BM. 2006. The Greenland Ice Core Chronology 2005, 15–42 ka. Part 2: comparison to other records. Quaternary Science Reviews 25(23–24):3258–67.Google Scholar
Weninger, B, Jöris, O. 2008. A 14C age calibration curve for the last 60 ka: the Greenland-Hulu U/Th timescale and its impact on understanding the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition in Western Eurasia. Journal of Human Evolution 55(5):772–81.Google Scholar