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Computer Dating Revolution

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  • Computer Dating Revolution

    The punning title is the Independent newspaper's own.

    Anyway ... the claim is that innovations in computer programming have made more accurate dating of events in prehistory possible:

    In effect, we have been able to turn pre-history into history.
    The technique has been applied to the advent of farming—spreading initially at half-a-mile a year and then accelerating to 9 miles per year, they say:

    The new research, based on computer-refined radiocarbon dates, strongly suggests that farming life-styles were introduced from the continent through Kent and Essex by immigrants – not simply through the transmission of knowledge and ideas. The work also reveals that for the first 200 years, roughly the first 8 to 10 farming generations, the agricultural revolution spread very slowly – from Kent/Essex in around 4050 BC to the Cotswolds by 3850 BC (on average just over half a mile per year).

    But the research also suggests that in around 3850 BC, the new farming culture reached some sort of demographic or political ‘critical mass’ – for the new dates reveal that suddenly the agricultural lifestyle (also being adopted by Britain’s indigenous pre-agricultural inhabitants) spread throughout Britain within just 50 years – at an average speed of around 9 miles per year – ie. some 15 times more rapidly – vastly faster than most archaeologists had previously thought.
    Full article with much more in:

    A computer dating revolution (of the archaeological kind) - Archaeology, Science - The Independent