Chronology has a central role in archaeology - allowing us to understand the relative timing, rates and nature of changing human societies. In the prehistoric periods, it provides the backbone for any narrative and in historical periods allows us to relate individual events to the larger political context. In addition to the human dimension, chronology allows us to link environmental and archaeological records on a global scale. Oxford has helped pioneer many of the scientific dating methods used today and still has significant active research into Radiocarbon, Luminescence and Tephrochronology. This research is focussed both on methodological advances and on a whole range of applications of chronological research to archaeological questions, from the replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans to the precise placement of the Egyptian historical chronology. Much of the research is collaborative between different members of the School of Archaeology, UK academics and those from the international research community.
In addition to the department's own research, we host the national NERC (National Environment Research Council) facility for radiocarbon dating archaeological material, and provide facilities for dating by radiocarbon, luminescence and tephra correlation for a broad range of researchers. These facilities are the catalyst for research collaborations with many other institutions.