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1859 + 150: Time depth and process

  • Colin Renfrew (a1)

In a single year two of the fundamental principles for the study of antiquity were established: chronology and process. Both have been elaborated and re-visited since: chronology most significantly 90 years later in 1949 with the development of radiocarbon dating by Willard Libby. That these two foundations should be established in the ambit of a single year – 1859 – is remarkable, and worthy of celebration.

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Daniel, G.E. 1950. A hundred years of archaeology. London: Duckworth.
Darwin, C. 1859. On the origin of species by means of natural selection. London: John Murray.
Darwin, C. 1871. The descent of Man, and selection in relation to sex. London: John Murray.
Hutton, J. 1785. Theory of the Earth.
Lubbock, J. 1865. Pre-historic times as illustrated by ancient remains and the manners and customs of modern savages. London: Williams & Norgate.
Lyell, C. 1830-1833. Principles of geology. London: John Murray.
Renfrew, C. 2006. Becoming human: the archaeological challenge. Proceedings of the British Academy 139: 217-21.
Renfrew, C. 2007. Prehistory, the making of the human mind. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
Shennan, S. 2003. Genes, memes and human history: Darwinian archaeology and cultural evolution. London: Thames & Hudson.
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  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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