Historical seismic data are essential to fill in the gaps in geophysical knowledge caused by the low rate of significant seismic events. Handling historical data in the context of geophysical inverse problems requires special care, due to the large errors in the data collection process. Using Oldham’s data for the discovery of Earth’s core as a case study, we illustrate how a hierarchical Bayesian model selection methodology using leave‐one‐out cross validation can robustly and efficiently answer quantitative questions using even poor‐quality geophysical data. We find that there is statistically significant evidence for the existence of the core using only the P‐wave data that Oldham effectively discarded in his discussion.

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