Archaeology

Alistair Pike

Primary position:
Reader in Archaeological Sciences
Other positions:
Deputy Head of Archaeology

Background

The University of Southampton

After graduating with a BSc in Archaeological Sciences from Bradford University, and working for English Heritage and The British Museum, I completed my doctoral research at Oxford University on uranium-series dating of archaeological bone. After eight years at the University of Bristol, including three years as Head of Archaeology and Anthropology, I moved to the University of Southampton. I sit on the NERC Radiocarbon facility steering committee and previously sat on the Editorial Advisory Board of Australian Archaeology.

I research in several areas of archaeological science. These include the development of dating methods for bone beyond the range of radiocarbon, novel applications of dating methods, and the use of isotopes in the reconstruction of human lifeways. My current research focuses on uranium-series disequilibrium dating and the chronology of modern human evolution, and is providing insights into the timing of the appearance of the earliest anatomically modern humans in Africa, and the disappearance of the last Neanderthals in Iberia. In parallel, my work on dating of Palaeolithic cave art has shown the oldest dated cave painting to be in Iberia, at least as old as the arrival of modern humans to the region and has significant implications for the evolution of symbolic behaviour.

My interest in applications of strontium isotope analysis to human migration and animal herding studies, has resulted in a large scale isotopic survey of 3rd Millennium BC Saxon-Anhalt in Germany; the positive identification of Princess Eadgyth's remains in Magdeburg cathedral; and a genetic and isotopic study of a late Neolithic nuclear family. I have worked on the development of laser ablation multi-collector mass spectrometry methods that can now be successfully employed to measure intra-tooth variation of strontium isotopes at high spatial resolution, and which are being used to reconstruct herding practices at Neolithic Swiss lake villages. I have also worked on provenance studies using lead isotopes in copper, bronze and also gold artefacts.

Dr Alistair Pike's photo

Publications

The University of Southampton's electronic library (e-prints)

Article

Felstead, N., Gonzalez, S., Huddart, D., Noble, S.R., Hoffman, D.L., Metcalfe, S.E., Leng, M.J., Albert, B.M., Pike, A.W.G., Gonzalez-Gonzalez, A. and Jimenez-Lopez, J.C. (2014) Holocene-aged human footprints from the Cuatrociénegas Basin, NE Mexico. Journal of Archaeological Science, 42, 250-259. (doi:10.1016/j.jas.2013.11.010).
Standish, C.D., Dhuime, B., Chapman, R.J., Hawkesworth, C.J. and Pike, A.W.G. (2014) The genesis of gold mineralisation hosted by orogenic belts: A lead isotope investigation of Irish gold deposits. Chemical Geology, 378-379, 40-51. (doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2014.04.012).
Garcia-Diez, M., Hoffmann, D.L., Zilhao, J., de las Heras, C., Lasheras, J.A., Montes, R. and Pike, A.W.G. (2013) Uranium series dating reveals a long sequence of rock art at Altamira Cave (Santillana del Mar, Cantabria). Journal of Archaeological Science, 40, (11), 4098-4106. (doi:10.1016/j.jas.2013.05.011).
Taylor, G.M., Tucker, K., Butler, R., Pike, A.W.G., Lewis, J., Roffey, S., Marter, P., Lee, O. Y-C., Wu, H.H.T., Minnikin, D.E., Besra, G.S., Singh, P., Cole, S.T. and Stewart, G.R. (2013) Detection and strain typing of ancient Mycobacterium leprae from a medieval leprosy hospital. PLoS ONE, 8, (4), e62406. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0062406).
Banerjee, R, Pike, A.W.G. and Verma, R.K. (2013) Preliminary report on the newly discovered site of Uraihava, Mizapur District, India. International Newsletter on Rock Art, 66, 4-9.
Gerling, C., Banffy, E., Dany, J., Köhler, K., Kulcsár, G., Pike, A.W.G., Szeverényi, V. and Heyd, V.M. (2013) Yamnaya migration and transhumance in the Carpathian Basin. Antiquity, 86, (334), 1097-1111.
Standish, Christopher, Dhuime, Bruno, Chapman, Robert, Coath, Christopher, Hawkesworth, Chris and Pike, Alistair (2013) Solution and laser ablation MC-ICP-MS lead isotope analysis of gold. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 28, (2), 217-221. (doi:10.1039/C2JA30277B ).
Hoffmann, Dirk L., Pike, Alistair W.G., Wainer, Karine and Zilhao, Joao (2012) New U-series results for the speleogenesis and the Palaeolithic archaeology of the Almonda karstic system (Torres Novas, Portugal). Quaternary International (doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2012.05.027).
Pike, A.W.G., Hoffmann, D.L., Garcia-Diez, M., Pettitt, P.B., Alcolea, J., de Balbin, R., Gonzalez-Sainz, C., de las Heras, C., Lasheras, J.A., Montes, R. and Zilhao, J. (2012) U-series dating of Palaeolithic art in 11 caves in Spain. Science, 336 , (6087), 1409-1413. (doi:10.1126/science.1219957 ).
Aubert, M., Pike, A.W.G., Stringer, C., Bartsiokas, A., Eggins, S., Day, M. and Grun, R. (2012) Confirmation of a late middle Pleistocene age for the Omo Kibish 1 cranium by direct uranium-series dating. Journal of Human Evolution, 63, (5), 704-710. (doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2012.07.006).
Daura, J., Sanz, M., Zilhao, J., Pike, A.W.G., Subirà, E., Fornós, F., Fullola, J.M. and Julià, R. (2010) Precise chronological dating of the Neanderthal Mandible of Cova del Gegant (Sitges, Barcelona). Jounal of Human Evolution, 59, (1), 109-122. (doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2010.04.009).
Grün, Rainer, Eggins, Stephen, Aubert, Maxime, Spooner, Nigel, Pike, Alistair W.G. and Müller, Wolfgang (2010) ESR and U-series analyses of faunal material from Cuddie Springs, NSW, Australia: implications for the timing of the extinction of the Australian megafauna. Quaternary Science Reviews, 29, (5-6), 596-610. (doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2009.11.004).
Lamb, Angela L., Gonzalez, Silvia, Huddart, David, Metcalf, Sarah E., Vane, Christopher H. and Pike, Alistair W.G. (2009) Tepexpan palaeoindian site, Basin of Mexico: multi proxy evidence for environmental change during the late Pleistocene-late Holocene. Quaternary Science Reviews, 28, (19-20), 2000-2016. (doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2009.04.001).
Pettitt, Paul B., Jacobi, Roger M., Chamberlain, Andrew T., Pike, Alistair W.G., Schreve, Danielle, Wall, Ian, Dinnis, Robert and Wragg Sykes, Rebecca (2009) Excavations outside Church Hole, Creswell Crags: the first three seasons (2006-2008). Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire, 113, 35-53.
Walker, Michael J., Gilbert, Josep, Lopez, Mariano V., Perez-Perez, A. Vincent, Zapata, Josefina, Ortega, Jon, Higham, Thomas, Pike, Alistair, Schwenninger, Jean-Luc, Zilhao, joao and Trinkaus, Erik (2008) Late neanderthals in southeastern Iberia: Sima de las Palomas del Cabexo Gordo, Murcia, Spain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , 105, (52), 20631-20636. (doi:10.1073/pnas.0811213106 ).
Haak, W., Brandt, G., de Jong, H., Meyer, C., Ganslmeier, R., Heyd, V., Hawkesworth, C., Pike, A.W.G., Meller, H. and Alt, K. (2008) Ancient DNA, strontium isotopes and osteological analyses shed light on social and kinship organization of the later stone age. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105, (47), 18226-18231. (doi:10.1073/pnas.0807592105).
Pinhasi, R., Gasparian, B., Wilkinson, K., Bailey, R., Bar-Oz, G., Bruch, A., Chataigner, C., Hoffmann, D., Hovsepyan, R., Nahapetyan, S., Pike, A.W.G., Schreve, D. and Stephens, M. (2008) Hovk 1 and the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic of Armenia. Journal of Human Evolution, 55, (5), 803-816. (doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2008.04.005).

Book Section

Reynolds, T., Barker, G., Barton, H., Cranbrook, G., Hunt, C., Kealhofer, L., Pike, A.W.G., Piper, P., Rabett, R., Rushworth, G., Stimpson, C. and Szabo, K. (2013) The first modern humans at Niah, c. 50,000-35,000 years ago. In, Barker, G. (ed.) Rainforest Foraging and Farming in Island Southeast Asia. The Archaeology of the Niah Caves, Sarawak. , McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 135-172.
Alt, K., Knipper, C., Held, P., Nicklisch, N., Fecher, M., Roth, C., Enzmann, F., Tuckermann, J., Seitz, H., Polzin, C., Klopfsch, V., Brauns, M. and Pike, A.W.G. (2013) Königin Editha – ein Indizienbeweis zur Identifikation einer historischen Persönlichkeit aus dem Magdeburger Dom. In, Meller, H, Schenkluhn, W and Schmuhl, B.E.H. (eds.) Königin Editha und ihre Grablegen in Magdeburg. , Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie Sachsen, 105-156. (Sonderband).
Wilson, J.C., Usborne, H., Taylor, C., Ditchfield, P. and Pike, A.W.G. (2012) Strontium and oxygen isotope analysis on iron age and early historic burials around the Great Mound at Knowth, Co. Meath. In, Eogan , George (ed.) Excavations at Knowth 5: The Archaeology of Knowth in the First and Second Millennia AD. Dublin, IE, Royal Irish Academy, 775-788.
Hotz, G. and Pike, A.W.G. (2010) Theos Herkunft: Wuchs Theo in Basel auf, oder kam er als junger Erwachsener in die Stadt? In, Hotz, Gerhard, von Greyerz, Kaspar and Burkart, Lucas (eds.) Theo der Pfeifenraucher - Leben in Kleinbasel um 1800. Basel, CH, Naturhistorisches Museum Basel, 63-65.
Haak, W., Brandt, G., Meyer, C., de Jong, H., Ganselmeier, R., Pike, A.W.G., Meller, H. and Alt, K. (2010) Die schnurkeramischen Familiengraber von Eulau – ein außergewohnlicher Fund und seine interdisziplinare Bewertung. In, Meller, Harald and Alt, Kurt W. (eds.) Antrhopologie, Isotopie und DNA – Biografische Annaherung an Namenlose Vorgesshichtliche Skelette? Saal, DE, Tagungen des Landesmuseums für Vorgeschichte Halle, 53-62.
De Jong, H., Foster, G., Heyd, V. and Pike, A.W.G. (2010) Further Sr isotopic studies on the Eulau multiple graves using laser ablation ICP-MS. In, Meller, H. and Alt, K. (eds.) Antrhopologie, Isotopie und DNA – biografische Annaherung an namenlose vorgesshichtliche Skelette? Saal, DE, Tagungen des Landesmuseums für Vorgeschichte Halle, 63-70.
Pike, A.W.G., Gilmour, M. and Pettitt, P. (2009) Verification of the age of the Palaeolithic cave art at Creswell Crags using uranium-series disequilibrium dating. In, Bahn , Paul and Pettitt, Paul (eds.) Britain’s Oldest Art: the Ice Age Cave Art of Creswell Crags. Swindon, Borough of, GB, English Heritage.
 

Research

Research Interests

I research in several areas of archaeological science. These include the development of dating methods for bone beyond the range of radiocarbon, novel applications of dating methods, and the use of isotopes in the reconstruction of human lifeways. My current research focuses on uranium-series disequilibrium dating and the chronology of modern human evolution, and is providing insights into the timing of the appearance of the earliest anatomically modern humans in Africa, and the disappearance of the last Neanderthals in Iberia. In parallel, my work on dating of Palaeolithic cave art has shown the oldest dated cave painting to be in Iberia, at least as old as the arrival of modern humans to the region and has significant implications for the evolution of symbolic behaviour.

My interest in applications of strontium isotope analysis to human migration and animal herding studies, has resulted in a large scale isotopic survey of 3rd Millennium BC Saxon-Anhalt in Germany; the positive identification of Princess Eadgyth's remains in Magdeburg cathedral; and a genetic and isotopic study of a late Neolithic nuclear family. I have worked on the development of laser ablation multi-collector mass spectrometry methods that can now be successfully employed to measure intra-tooth variation of strontium isotopes at high spatial resolution, and which are being used to reconstruct herding practices at Neolithic Swiss lake villages. I have also worked on provenance studies using lead isotopes in copper, bronze and also gold artefacts.

Primary research group:  Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins

Affiliate research groups:  Centre for Applied Human Origins Research, Centre for Applied Archaeological Analyses, Osteo-archaeology

Research projects

The History, Archaeology and New Genetics of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade (EUROTAST)

EUROTAST is a Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN), supporting a new generation of science and humanities researchers to uncover and interpret new evidence on the history and contemporary legacies of the transatlantic slave trade. The network will be running for four years from 2012 to 2016, and will enable 13 PhD researchers in history, archaeology, social anthropology and population genetics to work collaboratively across disciplines to provide new perspectives on this history.

Seasonality, mobility and storage in Palaeolithic hunting societies (Funded by the Leverhulme Trust) 2014-2017

Clive Gamble and Alistair Pike were awarded a grant of £163,228 from the Leverhulme Trust to investigate "Seasonality, mobility and storage in Palaeolithic hunting societies". This three year project examines one of the tipping points in deep human history, the first appearance of stored foods. The appearance of this ability in human history transformed the peripatetic lifestyles of people living by hunting and gathering. Storing food also opened up the way to domesticating plants and animals by enabling the capture of food via an annual harvest. This development created a whole new lifestyle that turned food into economic power.

Dating the origins and development of Palaeolithic cave painting in Europe by U-series disequilibrium

Cave art is one of the most important sources of information regarding symbolic behaviour and belief systems during the Palaeolithic. This project will employ uranium-series disequilibrium dating of calcite over-growths to investigate its origin and evolution.

Food storage in Palaeolithic hunter-gatherer societies

The technology underpinning food-storage is thought to have originated in Europe at least 30,000 years ago, during the strongly seasonal climates of the Upper Palaeolithic. However, food storage has never been convincingly demonstrated from the archaeological evidence. This project investigates the seasonal mobility of Gravettian-era hunter gatherers and their main prey in an attempt to demonstrate securely whether or not food storage was practised and address the key question: Was the presence of stored animal foods necessary for the complex settlements, art and social identities seen at the Gravettian sites of Dolní Věstonice-Pavlov and Kostenki?

Isotope analysis of well dated cattle and red deer bones from Swiss Neolithic lakeshore settlements as indicator for herd management, dairying, environment and human impact

This collaboration between the Universities of Basel, Bristol and Southampton, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, aims to reconstruct changing cattle herding patterns in the period 2800 BC to 4300 BC using cattle teeth from the well dated deposits of Swiss lake village settlements. Isotopic approaches, including laser ablation Sr isotope analysis, can track cattle movement on a seasonal basis and reveal changing patterns of herding and transhumance in response to a changing environment and innovations such as the introduction of dairying.

Teaching Responsibilities

I am willing to supervise PhD students on projects covering chronological or isotopic methods. Areas include uranium series dating; cave art; isotopic provenance studies; isotopic reconstruction of human lifeways (Sr, O, C, N isotopes).

Current PhD supervision includes:

  • The Rock art of Central India
  • Radiocarbon dating of the Mediterranean Neolithic
  • An isotopic study of slavery and enforced migrations
  • Strontium diagenesis in tooth enamel
  • An isotopic study of diet and body height

 

Contact

Dr Alistair Pike
Faculty of Humanities
University of Southampton
Avenue Campus
Highfield
Southampton
SO17 1BF
United Kingdom

Room Number: 65/2233

Telephone: (023) 8059 7295
Facsimile: (023) 8059 3032
Email: A.W.Pike@soton.ac.uk