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The chronology of culture: a comparative assessment of European Neolithic dating approaches

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 January 2015

Katie Manning*
Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 31–34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY, UK
Adrian Timpson
Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 31–34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY, UK Research Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, Darwin Building, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK
Sue Colledge
Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 31–34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY, UK
Enrico Crema
Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 31–34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY, UK
Kevan Edinborough
Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 31–34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY, UK
Tim Kerig
Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 31–34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY, UK
Stephen Shennan
Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 31–34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY, UK
Author for correspondence (Email:
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Archaeologists have long sought appropriate ways to describe the duration and floruit of archaeological cultures in statistical terms. Thus far, chronological reasoning has been largely reliant on typological sequences. Using summed probability distributions, the authors here compare radiocarbon dates for a series of European Neolithic cultures with their generally accepted ‘standard’ date ranges and with the greater precision afforded by dendrochronology, where that is available. The resulting analysis gives a new and more accurate description of the duration and intensity of European Neolithic cultures.

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