Running OxCal on an Xgrid

OxCal is a freeware program, developed by the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit (ORAU), University of Oxford. It applies a Bayesian approach for the analysis of archaeological and environmental chronological information. Binaries are distributed for the current version (v.4) for Mac and Win platforms.

The application consists of three main modules. The project manager and output module are web based, but the core analysis module is an executable, compiled from C++ source code and can be launched from the command line. It takes a plain text input file *.oxcal which contains the instructions for OxCal.
On a Mac this would look like, for example:

OxCalMac 6000_5950_SEQ.oxcal

To execute multiple runs of this, each one with a different (*.oxcal) input file – in our case a total of 1200 – I set OxCal up to run on an Xgrid. Continue reading


The AfricaMap project out of the Center for Geographic Analysis at Harvard aims to address an increasingly relevant problem of social science and humanities spatial research: how to build an infrastructure to manage the spatial data. 

From the website:

Despite the existence of excellent public maps for Africa, to date there is no common source that allows students, researchers, and the general public to:

  1. Interact with the best available public data for Africa
  2. See the whole of Africa yet also zoom in to particular places
  3. Accumulate both contemporary and historical data supplied by researchers and make it permanently accessible online
  4. Work collaboratively across disciplines and organizations with spatial information about Africa in an online environment

Applying open source standards it makes use of OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium) compliant web services such as WMS (Web Map Service), emerging open standards such as WMS-C (cached WMS), and standards-based metadata formats.