Features of BCal

Readers considering using BCal will be keen to know what functionality the software offers.  In this section we attempt to summarise the most important of these.  Note, however, that space precludes consideration of some things that will be important for individual projects and we urge readers to access the BCal site and manual pages if they wish to check for specific functionality that is of interest to them.

User features

There are a number of features that will be important to all users as they affect the day-to-day use of the software.  Of these the most important can be summarised as follows.

Calibration features

Some of the radiocarbon calibration features are not needed for all projects, but are nonetheless a crucial part of the functionality of BCal.  These include (amongst others) the ability to handle delta-R reservoir corrections, outlier detection, pooling of determinations from samples known to be of the same age, a wide range of different types of a priori chronological information and a range of calibration curves.  For more on each of these please see the BCal tutorial and manual.

Post calibration features

In addition to the ease of use of the problem definition and calibration software, users also need access to a range of tools to allow them to process and interpret the MCMC samples that mexcal outputs.  BCal offers a selection of flexible tools to provide summaries of the posterior distributions themselves and also how they relate to one another.  For example, a user may wish to find out the length of a phase or the probability that a certain event takes place within the time period spanned by a particular phase.

An invitation to new users

If you think that you would like to use the software we would urge you to carefully read our introduction for new users and to work through the BCal tutorial. These reside on the BCal server and so may take a little longer to access than the pages in the rest of this document.  If, having done this,  you feel that the tools BCal offers are a suitable aid for your research, we invite you to register as a user.  You can do this via the BCal Welcome Page which is also the page that you should bookmark so that you can find us again easily in the future.


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Last updated: Mon Sept 6 1999