Date notation

Wed, 4 Jan 1995 10:07:26 -0600

I've been interested in date notation for some time now, especially
with reference to the use of calibrated (dendrocorrected) vs.
uncalibrated radiocarbon dates.

The most prominent archaeology journals in Great Britain (_Antiquity_)
and the U.S. (_American Antiquity_) have stuck to the B.C./A.D.
notation. However, _Antiquity_ has for some time now used "b.c./a.d."
(lower case) to indicate uncalibrated dates.

It has been my impression that the B.C.E./C.E. notation has appeared
primarily in Classical and Biblical archaeology journals and
publications. I suspect it was originated by Jewish scholars, but I
don't know when. A rabbi might be the right person to ask.

The quirkiest notation I've seen--and one which stands opposite the
message of B.C.E./C.E.--is the one used by the _Journal of Field
Archaeology_. They use B.C. and A.C., but I don't know why!

Please let me know what you find out. I haven't yet spotted the use of
lower case "b.c.e./c.e." to indicate uncorrected radiocarbon years,
although we've recommended it to authors in a book I'm currently editing
on the origins of pottery.

John Hoopes
Dept. of Anthropology
University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS 66045