Modeling temporal uncertainty in historical datasets

:speech_balloon: Speaker: Vojtěch Kaše, Adéla Sobotková and Petra Heřmánková

:classical_building: Affiliation: 1, Department of Philosophy, University of West Bohemia, Czech Republic; 2, Department of History and Classical Studies, Aarhus University, Denmark

Title: Modeling temporal uncertainty in historical datasets

Abstract: This paper explores several approaches to assess temporal trends within archaeological and historical datasets containing records marked with significant extent of uncertainty accompanying their dating. We evaluate the strengths and pitfalls of these methodologies by employing two datasets: one comprising ancient shipwrecks and the other ancient Greek inscriptions. While these objects can, in principle, be precisely dated to specific years, they are often assigned broader date ranges, spanning centuries or longer historical periods. We propose that the most promising approaches involve using these date ranges as defining probabilities. By randomly assigning specific dates based on these probabilities, we enable hypothesis testing for temporal trends. As we want to encourage other scholars to employ the methods we propose, we offer a detailed description of the implementation of these methods using functions from the Python tempun package.

:newspaper: Link to paper