Rolling Out Revolution: Using Radiocarbon Dating in Archaeology



Bayliss A (2009) Rolling Out Revolution: Using Radiocarbon Dating in Archaeology. Radiocarbon, 51 (1), pp. 123-147.

Sixty years ago, the advent of radiocarbon dating rewrote archaeological chronologies around the world. Forty years ago, the advent of calibration signaled the death knell of the diffusionism that had been the mainstay of archaeological thought for a century. Since then, the revolution has continued, as the extent of calibration has been extended ever further back and as the range of material that can be dated has been expanded. Now a new revolution beckons, one that could allow archaeology to engage in historical debate and usher in an entirely new kind of (pre)history. This paper focuses on more than a decade of experience in utilizing Bayesian approaches routinely for the interpretation of 14 C dates in English archaeology, discussing both the practicalities of implementing these methods and their potential for changing archaeological thinking.

Radiocarbon: Volume 51, Issue 1

FundersEnglish Heritage
Publication date31/12/2009
Publication date online18/07/2016
Date accepted by journal17/08/2009

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Professor Alexandra Bayliss

Professor Alexandra Bayliss

Professor, Biological and Environmental Sciences

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