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Using statistical smoothing to date medieval manuscripts

Andrey Feuerverger, Peter Hall, Gelila Tilahun, and Michael Gervers

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We discuss the use of multivariate kernel smoothing methods to date manuscripts dating from the 11th to the 15th centuries, in the English county of Essex. The dataset consists of some 3300 dated and 5000 undated manuscripts, and the former are used as a training sample for imputing dates for the latter. It is assumed that two manuscripts that are “close”, in a sense that may be defined by a vector of measures of distance for documents, will have close dates. Using this approach, statistical ideas are used to assess “similarity”, by smoothing among distance measures, and thus to estimate dates for the 5000 undated manuscripts by reference to the dated ones.

Chapter information

N. Balakrishnan, Edsel A. Peña and Mervyn J. Silvapulle, eds., Beyond Parametrics in Interdisciplinary Research: Festschrift in Honor of Professor Pranab K. Sen (Beachwood, Ohio, USA: Institute of Mathematical Statistics, 2008), 321-331

First available in Project Euclid: 1 April 2008

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Mathematical Reviews number (MathSciNet)

Primary: 62G99: None of the above, but in this section 62P99: None of the above, but in this section
Secondary: 62-07: Data analysis 62H20: Measures of association (correlation, canonical correlation, etc.)

bandwidth calendaring dating deeds document kernel resemblance distance shingle

Copyright © 2008, Institute of Mathematical Statistics


Feuerverger, Andrey; Hall, Peter; Tilahun, Gelila; Gervers, Michael. Using statistical smoothing to date medieval manuscripts. Beyond Parametrics in Interdisciplinary Research: Festschrift in Honor of Professor Pranab K. Sen, 321--331, Institute of Mathematical Statistics, Beachwood, Ohio, USA, 2008. doi:10.1214/193940307000000248.

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