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Introduction of Bente Philippsen

New UrbNet postdoc.

I studied physics, prehistoric archaeology and astrophysics at Heidelberg University, Germany. I came to Denmark to write my master thesis and later my PhD about the development and application of radiocarbon and stable isotope techniques. Since then, I have worked on different projects and institutions, most of them covering different aspects of scientific archaeology.

In my Postdoc project, I will develop more precise radiocarbon calibration curves for two periods of about 100 years each. Until now, calibration curves are based on 10 year averages - radiocarbon determinations of 10 tree rings. However, high-definition archaeology and radiocarbon dating require more precise calibration curves. Therefore, I will develop calibration curves based on single tree rings by cutting 200 slices of oak trees, extracting their cellulose, and radiocarbon dating them with extra high precision. One curve will cover the emergence of Ribe, the other one will be used for Jerash. I will apply the calibration curves to make age models of these two cities, which incorporate archaeological/historical information. With this approach ("Bayesian modelling"), we will be able to date the different events with much greater precision than with single radiocarbon dates. Of course I will also be available for all UrbNet members in case they need help with different aspects of radiocarbon dating and other methods, from sampling to interpretation of data.