Skip to main content

Should Archaeologists Care about 14C Intercomparisons? Why? A Summary Report on SIRI

  • E M Scott (a1), P Naysmith (a2) and G T Cook (a2)

Radiocarbon (14C) dating is used widely in many projects as a basis for the creation and testing of chronological constructs. 14C measurements are by their nature complex and the degree of sample pretreatment varies considerably depending on the material. Within the United Kingdom and Europe, there are a number of well-established laboratories and increasingly, archaeologists are not just commissioning new dates, but also using statistical modelling of assemblages of dates, perhaps measured in different laboratories, to provide formal date estimates for their sites. The issue of comparability of measurements (and thus bias, accuracy and precision of measurement) from the diverse laboratories is one which has been the focus of some attention both within the 14C community and the wider user communities for some time. As a result of this but also as part of laboratory benchmarking and quality assurance, the 14C community has undertaken a wide-scale, far-reaching, and evolving program of intercomparisons, to the benefit of laboratories and users alike. This paper summarizes the most recent exercise, the Sixth International Radiocarbon Intercomparison (SIRI).

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author. Email:
Hide All

Selected Papers from the 8th Radiocarbon & Archaeology Symposium, Edinburgh, UK, 27 June–1 July 2016

Hide All
Armbruster, DA, Pry, T. 2008. Limit of blank, limit of detection and limit of quantitation. The Clinical Biochemist Reviews 29(1):S49S52.
Currie, LA. 1968. Limits for qualitative detection and quantitative determination. Application to radiochemistry. Analytical Chemistry 40(3):586593.
Dunbar, E, Naysmith, P, Cook, GT, Scott, EM, Xu, S, Tripney, B. 2017. Investigation of the analytical F14C bone background value at SUERC. Radiocarbon, this issue.
Naysmith, P, Dunbar, E, Scott, EM, Cook, GT, Tripney, B. 2017. Preliminary results for estimating the bone background uncertainties at SUERC using statistical analysis. Radiocarbon, this issue.
Scott, EM, editor. 2003. The Third International Radiocarbon Intercomparison (TIRI) and the Fourth International Radiocarbon Intercomparison (FIRI) 1990–2002: results, analyses, and conclusions. Radiocarbon 45(2):135408.
Scott, EM, Cook, GT, Naysmith, P. 2010a. A report on Phase 2 of the 5th International Radiocarbon Intercomparison. Radiocarbon 52(2):846859.
Scott, EM, Cook, GT, Naysmith, P. 2010b. The 5th International Radiocarbon Intercomparison (VIRI): an assessment of laboratory performance in Stage 3. Radiocarbon 52(2):859866.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0033-8222
  • EISSN: 1945-5755
  • URL: /core/journals/radiocarbon
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed