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The times of their lives

This project offers ground-breaking progress towards the construction of much more precise chronologies for the Neolithic period in Europe.

It is particularly focused on phases after initial transformations, through a proven combination of expertise in Neolithic archaeology and Bayesian statistical analysis.

The project is funded by a five-year (2012–2017) Advanced Investigator Grant, from the European Research Council, that Professor Alasdair Whittle is leading jointly with Dr Alex Bayliss of English Heritage.

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.

The project team

Alasdair Whittle

Professor Alasdair Whittle

Distinguished Research Professor in Archaeology

Alex Bayliss

Alex Bayliss

Professor of Archaeological Science, University of Stirling