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The times of their lives

The times of their lives: towards precise narratives of change for the European Neolithic through formal chronological modelling.

New find from Vinca Belo Brdo

The Times of Their Lives is funded by a five-year (2012–2017) Advanced Investigator Grant, from the European Research Council, that Prof Alasdair Whittle is leading jointly with Dr Alex Bayliss of English Heritage. The project offers ground-breaking progress towards the construction of much more precise chronologies for the Neolithic period in Europe, particularly focused on phases after initial transformations, through a proven combination of expertise in Neolithic archaeology and Bayesian statistical analysis. It offers a series of case studies across much of the continent, working principally through the application of formal chronological modelling in a Bayesian statistical framework, combined with critical, problem-oriented archaeological analysis. We hope to provide much more precise timings of key features and trends in the European Neolithic sequence than are currently available, and to construct much more precise estimates of the duration of events and phenomena. From these there is the possibility to open up new insights into the tempo of change through the detailed study of selected sites and situations across the span of the European Neolithic, from the sixth to the early third millennia cal BC. At stake is our ability to study the lives of Neolithic people everywhere at the scale of lifetimes, generations and even decades, as opposed to the more usual scale of centuries. 

For further detail, see the project’s own website at