The times of their lives: precise chronologies for the European Neolithic

Wednesday 5 March 2014, 5.15PM

Speaker(s): Alasdair Whittle

Alasdair Whittle is a Distinguished Research Professor in Archaeology at Cardiff University. His research is based upon the study of all aspects of the Neolithic period, predominately focused on Britain, Ireland, and Europe as a whole. His recent research has been focused on chronological modelling of the European Neolithic, radiocarbon dating of causewayed enclosures in Britain, and early LBK farmers of central and western Europe.



Following on from the 'Gathering Time' project and publication, Alasdair Whittle and Alex Bayliss are now leading a five-year ERC-funded Advanced Investigator Grant project called 'The Times of Their Lives', which started in May 2012. This pursues questions of chronology and time already faced in 'Gathering Time', and is applying a Bayesian framework for the interpretation of radiocarbon dates for a series of projects across Neolithic Europe. Different kinds of archaeological situations from the sixth to the third millennia cal BC are being investigated, and a wider range of different kinds of Bayesian models are being constructed. My talk to you has three parts. First, I discuss questions of chronology and time which are relevant to all archaeologies. Then I sketch a very brief summary of 'Gathering Time' and an outline of the scope and aims of 'The Times of Their Lives'. Finally I will give you a sense of interim results so far (in March 2014 we will be towards the end of only our second year), probably including the great tell of Vinca-Belo Brdo in Serbia, the stunning new Lengyel complex at Alsonyek in Hungary, and perhaps the collective tomb of Bury, northern France - all as examples of why precise chronologies matter.

Location: The Philip Rahtz lecture theatre (K/133), King's Manor