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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