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Department of Archaeology


Dr Andrew R Millard, B.A., D.Phil.

Personal web page

Senior Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41147
Room number: 231

Contact Dr Andrew R Millard (email at


My first degree was in chemistry at Oxford, but whilst studying for that I discovered the delights of archaeology, going digging at weekends. I managed to combine these interests when I found a place for my undergraduate project and doctoral work in the Research Laboratory for Archaeology at Oxford. My D.Phil. explored the uptake of uranium into bone in order to improve the basis of uranium-series dating of bone, and a post-doctoral project explored wider issues of the effect of groundwater hydrology on the decay and preservation of bones.

In 1995 I came to Durham a Lecturer, where my research has broadened to cover the chemistry of bones and teeth applied to archaeological problems, and Bayesian statistics applied to archaeology, particularly to the analysis of scientific dating techniques, and with wider applications in Quaternary science. My research is a mixture of work conducted alone and collaborative projects with a range of scholars within Durham (I have collaborated with colleagues in Archaeology, History, Earth Sciences, Geography and Mathematics) and external to Durham (including Leiden, Groningen, Cambridge, Sheffield, British Geological Survey).

Bayesian statistics in archaeology and Quaternary science

Radiocarbon wigglematch calibration

Bayesian statistics, as applied to dating in archaeology, allows the combination of different types of dating methods, substantial improvements in the resolution of dates, and the assigning of dates to events previously considered undateable. My contribution in this area has been to extend the method from its initial application to radiocarbon dates, to application to a wide variety of other dating methods, including uranium-series, luminescence and ESR dating. This has been applied to a major re-evaluation of the dating evidence for hominid fossils in the timeframe 500,000 to 50,000 years ago. I have also worked on the development of novel methods to interpolate the age of events identified in palaeoenvironmental sequences from sediment cores. The Bayesian statistical paradigm has a wide range of potential applications in archaeology, which has led me to work on estimating age-at-death of humans and sheep, and on predicting the location of archaeological sites in the landscape. Through MSc students in Statistics at Sheffield I have also been involved in work on mathematical models for changes in nitrogen isotopes with weaning, and the analysis of uncertainty in chronologies constructed from ancient near eastern King Lists. I have co-supervised PhD students working on modelling the Mousterian-Aurignacian transition in Europe using radiocarbon dates, and on estimating the uncertainty in luminescence dates.

Chemistry of archaeological bones and teeth

My bone and tooth chemistry research mixes technique development, theoretical studies, and archaeological application in collaboration with period specialists. Past work has examined age of weaning using nitrogen isotope ratios, developing a mathematical model and examining its application to a 19th century population from London. A major project examined migration into and around Britain using strontium and oxygen isotope ratios measured in Anglo-Saxon and Viking remains. More recent projects have examined migration of Crusaders and their horses, and diet and migration in the Dutch middle Neolithic. PhD topics in this area that I have supervised include the application of isotope techniques to investigate the diet and migration of 18th-19th century populations, the link between diet and DISH (a disease of the skeleton), comparing the diets of Christians and Muslims in medieval Spain, and the migration of the animals hunted by Upper Palaeolithic humans.

PhD students

I welcome enquiries from potential PhD students in any of the above areas, or in related topics.

Research Interests

  • Applications of computers and statistics in archaeology
  • Chemical and biochemical methods in archaeology
  • Scientific dating techniques

Indicators of Esteem

  • 2015: Invited speaker British Academy Conference: 'Aliens, Foreigners & Strangers in Medieval England c.AD 500-1500', British Academy, 26 & 27 March 2015
  • 2014: Editorial Board, Journal of Archaeological Science Reports:
  • 2012: and 2015: Member of International Scientific Committee for the International Radiocarbon Conference:
  • Reviewer for academic journals and funding agencies:

    Since 2012:

    Journals: Antiquity, Radiation Measurements, Geochronometria, Journal of Archaeological Science, Journal of Human Evolution, Environmental Archaeology, Computer Applications in Archaeology conference proceedings, Quaternary Science Reviews, Proceedings of the Royal Society A, Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, Journal of Quaternary Science, Radiocarbon, Dendrochronologia, Archaeometry, Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, Quaternary International, European Journal of Archaeology, Collegium Antropologicum, Annals of Applied Statistics, Journal of the North Atlantic, ArchéoSciences

    Funding agencies: National Science Foundation (USA), Marsden Fund (New Zealand), Leverhulme Trust, NERC

Selected Publications

Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article


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