Age Models, Chronologies, and Databases Workshop

Dates: January 13, 2014 to January 16, 2014
Time: 09:00-18:00
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Organized by: Queen's University Belfast
Contact: Eric C. Grimm
Contact email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Phone: +1-217-785-4846

Application Deadline: September 30, 2013. However, both application to attend and for travel funds will depend partly on date of application, so early application is recommended!
Application Link: closed

Theme and Objectives

This workshop aims to develop strategies for updating chronologies in a semi-automated manner for paleo databases given new criteria, for example a new radiocarbon calibration curve or revised ages for stratigraphic/biostratigraphic markers (e.g. tephras).

The first overarching theme of this workshop is to establish methods for supervised automation for regenerating chronologies based on radiocarbon ages whenever the radiocarbon calibration curve changes or whenever ages for stratigraphic markers (e.g. tephras) are revised. Specific objectives for radiocarbon-based age models are: (1) establish a small number of algorithms that will accommodate all or most situations; (2) determine what age-model parameters must be stored to regenerate chronologies; and (3) develop a software strategy for regenerating chronologies from stored chronological data and age-model metadata.

A second theme of the workshop will address chronologies for datasets older than the radiocarbon timescale. Specific objectives are: (1) determine the necessary metadata for reconstructing reliable pre-radiocarbon age models, (2) develop or initiate a priority ranking scheme for various age determinations, and (3) initiate the development of an algorithm for quantifying the error estimates of such age determinations.

The workshop will also include a 1-day software training session including: (1) an introduction to the age modeling programs CLAM and BACON; (2) an introduction to the Neotoma API; (3) use of the ‘RNeotoma’ package, and (4) importing CLAM/BACON results into Tilia.

This workshop is sponsored by the Age Model Working Group of the Neotoma Paleoecology Database (NAMWoG). Interested persons not currently members of NAMWoG are invited to participate. Participants may attend the thematic workshop, the software training session, or both. However, only participants attending the thematic workshop may apply for travel funding.


Thematic Workshop; 13-15 January 2014
Software Training Session: 16 January 2014

Number of Participants

Thematic Workshop: 20-25
Software Training Session: 35-40


The workshop is partially funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation grant for the Neotoma Paleoecology Database. Funding for additional participants has been secured from PAGES. Interested participants who are not funded by the Neotoma project may apply for PAGES funding. The maximum subvention for travel expenses will be $500. Expenses beyond the amount awarded must be incurred by the participant. Refunds for expenses will not be given until after the workshop, and original receipts equaling or exceeding the amount awarded must be submitted.


Persons wishing to attend this workshop are asked to submit a brief statement (300 words maximum) regarding their interest in this workshop, their potential contribution to the workshop (including potential presentations), and what they expect to gain from the workshop, or, in brief, why they want to attend the workshop. As the number of participants is limited, applications will be reviewed and acceptance will be based on the statement and date of submission. The applicants’ statements will also be submitted to PAGES, which will make final approval of participants selected for PAGES support. The deadline for application of support is September 30, 2013.

Key speakers/mentors/lecturers (invited)

Brian Bills, Pennsylvania State University
Maarten Blaauw, Queens University Belfast
Jessica Blois, University of California, Merced
Simon Brewer, University of Utah
Angela Bruch, Senckenberg Research Institute
Thomas Giesecke, Georg-August-Universität
Simon Goring, University of Wisconsin
Russell W. Graham, Pennsylvania State University
Eric C. Grimm, Illinois State Museum
Paula J. Reimer, Queens University Belfast
Mark D. Uhen, George Mason University
John W. Williams, University of Wisconsin

Posted by Blake Ketchum on 06/20