Professor Caitlin E. Buck
Department of Probability and Statistics
University of Sheffield
Phone: +44 114 222 3715 (direct line)
+44 114 222 3731 (School office)
Fax: +44 114 222
I graduated with a B.Sc. in Archaeological Science from the
University of Bradford in 1987. I then joined a collaborative team
of archaeologists and statisticians at the University of Nottingham,
working as a research assistant on a number of projects and
completing a part-time PhD in statistics in 1994. My PhD thesis
title was: Towards Bayesian Archaeology.
From Nottingham I moved to Cardiff University to take up a post
as Lecturer in Computing in the School of History and Archaeology
(1994-2001). During that time, I continued my research on the
application of statistics to archaeology and moved to the University
of Sheffield, Department of Probability and Statistics in mid-2001.
Since arriving in Sheffield I have continued my research at the
interface between archaeology and statistics and have broadened my
horizons to work on the application of Bayesian statistical methods
to encompass a range of issues in palaeo-environmental science; in
particular palaeo-climate reconstruction.
My primary research interests at the moment are:
- working with experts in
statistics, palaeoenvironmental science and climate modelling;
pooling resources and ideas in order to better understand our
uncertainties about the climate of the past. Funding for this work
is provided by the Leverhulme Trust via a project known as SUPRAnet.
- developing models for
construction of the international radiocarbon calibration curves
(funded by NERC).
- development of new models for
representing archaeological and palaeoenvironmental a priori
information for chronology building.
- developing formal approaches to
address issues of contemporaneity in archaeological and
palaeoenvironmental research (funded by NERC/EPSRC).
- developing models for movement of
plants and animals as they colonise (or recolonise) new landscapes
(funded by NERC).
- developing statistical methods
for quantifying the uncertainties in ice core dating and matching
ice core records one to another (funded by NERC via the British
I am also the co-ordinator of a project which provides the
on-line Bayesian radiocarbon calibration software known as BCal -
Researchers from around the world are welcome to use the service for
any radiocarbon calibration that might benefit from the integration
of chronological information from a range of sources.
Previous research work has included:
- analysis of field survey data
from Britain and Greece.
- the calibration and
interpretation of groups of related radiocarbon determinations.
- the provenancing of
archaeological ceramics with the aid of chemical compositional
- development of models for
relative archaeological chronology building (seriation).
- analysis of the structure of
prehistoric corbelled domes.
- development of models for
interpreting spatio-temporal data such as those relating to the
recolonisation of a landscape in response to past climate change.
- the use of Bayesian radiocarbon calibration to aid in
- My current PhD student is Emma
Jones. She is jointly funded by EPSRC and English Heritage and
is working on developing Bayesian methods for dendrochronology.
Millard and I held an Environmental Mathematics and Statistics
PhD studentship from 2003-2006. The project developed tools for
investigating issues of contemporaneity in palaeo-environmental and
archaeological records. The student on this project was Lynsey
Blackwell and I held an EPSRC CASE studentship from 2002-2005.
The project was jointly funded by EPSRC and English Heritage and had
the title "Statistical Modelling for Robust and Flexible
Chronology Building". The student on this project was Angela
Five recent publications
- Blackwell P.G. and Buck C.E.
(2008). Estimating radiocarbon calibration curves. Bayesian
Analysis, 3, 225-248.
- Parnell A.C., Haslett J., Allen
J.R.M., Buck C.E. and Huntley B. (2008) A flexible approach to
assessing synchroneity of past events using Bayesian
reconstructions of sedimentation history. Quaternary Science
Reviews, 27, 1872-1885.
- Buck C.E. and Bard E (2007). A
calendar chronology for Pleistocene mammoth and horse extinction in
North America based on Bayesian radiocarbon calibration, Quaternary
Science Reviews, 26, 2031-2035.
- Blackwell P.G., Buck C.E. and
Reimer P.J. (2006). Important features of the new radiocarbon
calibration curves. Quaternary Science Reviews, 25, 408-413.
- Buck C.E., Gomez Portugal Aguilar D., Litton C.D., and
O'Hagan A. (2006). Bayesian non-parametric estimation of the
calibration curve for radiocarbon dating. Bayesian Analysis, 1(2),
I am also co-author of:
- C. E. Buck, W. G. Cavanagh and C.
D. Litton (1996). The Bayesian Approach to Interpreting
Archaeological Data, Wiley, Chichester.
- O'Hagan A., Buck C.E., Daneshkhah A., Eiser R., Garthwaite
P., Jenkinson D., Oakley J. and Rakow T. (2006). Uncertain
Judgements: Eliciting Expert Probabilities. Wiley, London.
and co-editor of:
In my spare time I cook, garden and brew beer.
What I like most is growing vegetables, utilising the produce to
cook vegetarian dishes from around the world and sharing the results
with groups of friends - especially if they happen to like home
brewed beer. Fortunately, given the other interests, I also swim on my way to work!
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and was last updated June 2009.