Professor Caitlin E. Buck
School of Mathematics and Statistics
University of Sheffield
Phone: +44 114 222 3715 (direct line)
+44 114 222 3752 (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 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 a range of issues in palaeo-environmental science.
My recent and ongoing research interests include:
- models for
construction of the internationally-agreed radiocarbon calibration curves.
- Bayesian models for tree-ring dating.
- developing models for movement of
plants and animals as they colonise (or recolonise) new landscapes.
- statistical methods
for quantifying the uncertainties in ice core dating and matching
ice core records one to another.
- forward models for palaeoenvironmental reconstruction.
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.
- 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
- 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 teaching responsibilities vary from year-to-year, but I am generally responsible for training in applied statistics at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.
I am happy to discuss supervising students who want to work on any application of statistics to archaeology or palaeoenvironmental science (including past climate). Current and previous PhD students have worked on the following.
- Fiona Turner, Reconstructing the past and predicting the future: what can ice-cores tell us about climate?
- Masoud Hassan, Applications of Bayesian statistics in palaeo-environmental science.
- Emma Jones, Practical Bayesian dendrochronology.
- Lynsey McColl, Statistical tools for investigating contemporaneity and co-location in archaeological records.
- Angela Karlsberg, Flexible Bayesian methods for archaeological dating.
Some recent publications
- Bennett K.D. and Buck C.E. (2016). Interpretation of lake sediment accumulation rates. Holocene, 26(7), 1092–1102.
- Buck C.E. and Meson B. (2015). On being a good Bayesian. World Archaeology, 47, 567-584.
- Dye T.S. and Buck C.E. (2015). Archaeological sequence diagrams and Bayesian chronological models. Journal of Archaeological Science, 83, 84-93.
- Seddon A.W., Mackay A.W., Baker A.G., Birks H.J.B., Breman E., Buck C.E., Ellis E.C., Froyd C.A., Gill J.L., Gillson L., Johnson E.A., Jones V.J.,
Juggins S., Macias-Fauria M., Mills K., Morris J.L., Nogus-Bravo D., Punyasena S.W., Roland T.P., FTanentzap A.J., Willis K.J. and the Palaeo50 Working Group (2014). Looking forward through the past: identification
of fifty priority research questions in palaeoecology. Journal of Ecology, 102(1), 256-267.
- Reimer P.J., Bard E., Bayliss A., Beck J.W., Blackwell P.G., Bronk Ramsey C., Buck C.E., Edwards R.L., Friedrich M., Grootes P.M., Guilderson T.P., Haflidason H., Hajdas I., Hatt ́e C., Heaton T.J., Hoffmann D.L., Hogg A.G., Hughen K.A., Kaiser K.F., Kromer B., Manning S.W., Niu M., Reimer R.W., Richards D.A., Scott E.M., Southon J.R., Staff R.A., Turney C.S.M. and van der Plicht J. (2013). IntCal13 and Marine13 radiocarbon age calibration curves 0-50,000 years cal BP. Radiocarbon, 55(4), 1869-1887.
- Reimer P.J., Baillie M.G.L., Bard E., Bayliss A., Beck J.W., Blackwell P.G., Bronk Ramsey C., Buck C.E., Burr G.S., Edwards R.L., Friedrich M., Grootes11 P.M., Guilderson T.P., Hajdas I., Heaton T.J., Hogg A.G., Hughen K.A., Kaiser K.F., Kromer B., McCormac F.G., Manning S.W., Reimer R.W., Richards D.A., Southon J.R., Talamo S., Turney C.S.M., van der Plicht J. and Weyhenmeyer C.E. (2009). IntCal09 and Marine09 Radiocarbon Age Calibration Curves, 0-50,000 Years cal BP. Radiocarbon, 51(4), 1111-1150.
- 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.
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 and wine. Fortunately, given the other interests, I also swim on my way to work!
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and was last updated Dec 2016.