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The University of Southampton
TAG 2016 Southampton

S17. Lost in Time

****We are sorry this session has been CANCELLED****

Session organizer:

Doug Cowie (University of Southampton,

Session abstract:

Quantitative analysis of temporal data comes with many complications. With a large proportion of dating evidence being probabilities this limits what techniques can be borrowed from other fields. One of the effects of quantitative analysis being difficult is that the focus is on the analytical technique, rather than a holistic view of the archaeology. In many studies we become lost in time, focusing on the temporal data but not considering the other dimensions to the data. Some prime examples of this effect are the fields of Bayesian modelling, of summed probability distributions, and of aoristic analysis. Bayesian modelling in particular has had a profound effect on our ideas of pre-history, but there has developed an overwhelming lack of spatiality within the Bayesian modelling literature. Spatial questions are generally not raised, and in some cases publications contain no plans of the site whatsoever.

How valid are the claims made in such studies where the temporal data is divorced from the spatial? If the data is not distributed evenly around the study area are the claims even valid across the whole area? To get the most value we must clearly combine our spatial and temporal information, without one or the other we are only looking at one side of the story.

This session will cover criticisms of the status quo; of the validity of claims from such a-spatial studies; methods for assessing validity of those claims; and techniques for pulling the spatial into temporal analysis.

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