Institute of Archaeology


Gordon Childe Lecture 2018

Gordon Childe Lecture 2018: Towards a new European Prehistory - genetics, archaeology and language dispersals

Speaker: Kristian Kristiansen (Professor of Archaeology, University of Gothenburg)

Professor Kristian Kristiansen (right), speaker at the annual Gordon Childe Lecture in February 2018, receiving the Graham Clark medal from the British Academy in 2016 (Photo: British Academy).
  • Welcome by Sue Hamilton (Professor of Prehistory and Director, UCL Institute of Archaeology)
  • Response by Stephen Shennan (Professor of Theoretical Archaeology, UCL Institute of Archaeology)


In this presentation I outline the effects of the ‘third science revolution’, and the need to re-theorize and re-interpret European prehistory. I propose that we are experiencing a transformation from relative to absolute archaeological knowledge, which in much the same way as the C14 revolution allows us to invest more theoretical labour and methodological rigour in interpretation. We are thus moving increasingly towards ‘archaeology as history’ by combining small scale historical events in real time with long-term transformations, based on the application of big-data. It will allow new interpretations also of how language dispersals took place, as we can now start combining archaeological and linguistic changes due to progress also in historical linguistics. This I shall exemplify in a number of case studies.

[This event took place on 21 February 2018, 6-8.30pm]

The Gordon Childe Seminar 2018 was cancelled.