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Alistair Pike

Dr Alistair Pike

Dr Alistair Pike

Research Fellow

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded

Robust Chronologies and Isotopic Windows on Human Behaviour

Scheme: Wolfson Research Merit Awards

Organisation: University of Southampton

Dates: Aug 2014-Jul 2019

Value: £44,045

Summary: I research in several areas of archaeological science, predominantly using geochemical methods. 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.

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