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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Peopling the past: creating a site biography in the Hungarian Neolithic
Author(s): Bayliss, Alex
Beavan, Nancy
Hamilton, Derek
Köhler, Kitti
Nyerges, Éva Ágnes
Bronk Ramsey, Christopher
Dunbar, Elaine
Fecher, Marc
Goslar, Tomasz
Kromer, Bernd
Reimer, Paula J
Bánffy, Estzer
Marton, Tibor
Oross, Krisztián
Osztás, Anett
Zalai-Gaál, István
Whittle, Alasdair
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Issue Date: 2016
Citation: Bayliss A, Beavan N, Hamilton D, Köhler K, Nyerges ÉÁ, Bronk Ramsey C, Dunbar E, Fecher M, Goslar T, Kromer B, Reimer PJ, Bánffy E, Marton T, Oross K, Osztás A, Zalai-Gaál I & Whittle A (2016) Peopling the past: creating a site biography in the Hungarian Neolithic, Bericht der Römisch-Germanischen Kommission, 94, pp. 23-91.
Abstract: First paragraph: For most regions and for most sequences around the world, prehistorians until now have only been able to assign the past people whom they study to rather imprecise times. Such imperfect chronology is the result of our reliance on radiocarbon dating and a conventional approach to the interpretation of radiocarbon results which relies, basically, on the visual inspection of calibrated dates. Thus, typically, a radiocarbon sample from a few thousand years ago will calibrate to a date spanning 100–200 years (at 2σ). A group of such samples will not produce identical calibrated dates, even when they derive from the same event, and archaeologists visually inspecting a graph of such dates tend to include the extremes of the timespan indicated, and thus considerably exaggerate the duration of a given phenomenon as well as accepting the relative imprecision of its dating (BAYLISS ET AL. 2007).In the European Neolithic there has been a longstanding tradition of inferring chronology by summing, first uncalibrated (OTTAWAY 1973; GEYH / MARET 1982; BREUNIG 1987), and then calibrated (AITCHISON ET AL. 1991) radiocarbon dates. This method similarly tends to produce inaccurate chronologies of exaggerated duration (BAYLISS ET AL. 2007, 9–11). For the fortunate few, in regions with favourable conditions in which timbers are preserved, dendrochronology can provide dates precise to a calendar year and even to a season within a given year, for example among the Pueblo settlements of the American Southwest or the Neolithic and Bronze Age settlements on the fringes of the Alps in west and central Europe (e.g. HERR 2001; MENOTTI 2004). In most regions, however, such preservation and such chronologies are exceptional.
Rights: Publisher policy allows this work to be made available in this repository. Published in Bd. 94. 2013 (2016): Bericht der Römisch-Germanischen Kommission by Römisch-Germanischen Kommission. The original publication is available at:

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