|19 October 2014
Greek Bronze Age re-evaluated thanks to statistical methodology
The origins of Bayesian statistical methodology can be traced back to Thomas Bayes in the 18th Century CE, who developed Bayes' Theorem, which relates current to prior belief and current to prior evidence.
The use of this complex mathematics in conjunction with radiocarbon analysis has allowed a team of archaeologists from the University of Oxford (UK) and the Akademie der Wissenschaften Heidelberg (Germany) to re-evaluate the timing of the end of the Greek Bronze Age. A combination of 60 artefacts, plant remains and bones were examined and dated, using the above combination of techniques, at approximately 1125 BCE, almost 100 years earlier than previously thought.
Dr Ken Wardle, of the University of Birmingham (UK), is quoted as saying "If we accept the 14C radiocarbon dating - and there is no good reason not to - we have to rethink our understanding of a long sequence of dates from the middle of the 14th Century BCE to the beginning of the 11th Century BCE. This is a fundamental reassessment and is important not just for Greece but in the wider Mediterranean context. It affects the way in which we understand the relationships between different areas, including the hotly debated dates of development in Israel and Spain".
Edited from PlosOne (15 September 2014) and EurekAlert! (9 October 2014)
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