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Department of Archaeology



My research interest focuses primarily on the application and development of quantitative methods in archaeology and anthropology. I applied these techniques to tackle a variety of research themes, including the study of long-term changes in settlement patterns, the reconstruction of prehistoric population dynamics, and the statistical inference of cultural transmission modes using archaeological data. I am particularly interested in the theoretical and methodological cross-fertilization between biology and archaeology within a cultural evolutionary framework and the interplay between population dynamics, migration, and cultural change.


I am currently the prinicipal investigator of the ERC-funded ENCOUNTER Project and co-investigator for the Leverhulme-funded Crops, Pollinators, and People (BuckBee) Project. 

  • Computational and Quantitative Archaeology
  • Cultural Evolution
  • Human settlement and landscape ecology
  • Spatial Analysis
  • Prehistoric Demography
  • Japanese Prehistory

I am also one of the main developer of rcarbon and other R packages

Information for Prospective Postgraduate Students

I am interested in supervising and working with PhD students that share the same kinds of methodological, theoretical, and contextual questions that I have. Whilst these broadly cover the application and development of quantitative & computational methods, cultural evolutionary studies, and Japanese archaeology,  I strongly recommend prospective applicants to read my profile and outputs and think about specific topics that can be of shared interest. If you are interested in simply using standard quantitative and computational methods I can be part of the advisory team, but there needs to be a primary supervisor to cover other theoretical and contextual aspects of the project. I generally expect candidates to have a solid quantitative background and good computer coding skills. If you are interested in working on Japanese archaeology I will normally expect some degree of linguistic proficiency that demonstrates that you are able to read and extract information from publications in Japanese. 






Key publications: 

Journal Articles

Crema, E.R., Bevan, A., (2021). Inference from large sets of radiocarbon dates: software and methods. Radiocarbon, 63(1), 23-39. doi:10.1017/rdc.2020.95

Bevan, A., Crema, E.R. (2021). Modifiable reporting unit problems and time series of long-term human activity. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 376: 20190726 doi:10.1098/rstb.2019.0726

Crema, E.R., Kobayashi, K., (2020). A multi-proxy inference of Jōmon population dynamics using bayesian phase models, residential data, and summed probability distribution of 14C dates. Journal of Archaeological Science 117, 105136. doi: 10.1016/j.jas.2020.105136

Lucarini, G., Wilkinson, T., Crema, E.R., Palombini, A., Bevan, A., Broodbank, C., (2020). The MedAfriCarbon Radiocarbon Database and Web Application. Archaeological Dynamics in Mediterranean Africa, ca. 9600–700 BC. Journal of Open Archaeology Data 8, 1. doi:10.5334/joad.60

Brown, A., Crema, E.R. (2019). Maori Population Growth in Pre-contact New Zealand: Regional Population Dynamics Inferred From Summed Probability Distributions of Radiocarbon Dates, Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology, DOI: 10.1080/15564894.2019.1605429.

Colledge, S., Conolly, J. Crema, E.R., Shennan, S. (2019) Neolithic population crash in northwest Europe associated with agricultural crisis. Quaternary Research, doi: 10.1017/qua.2019.42

Saag, L., et al. (2019). The Arrival of Siberian Ancestry Connecting the Eastern Baltic to Uralic Speakers further East. Current Biology 29, 1701–1711

Bell, L., Crema, E.R. , Bunting, J., Madella, M. (2018). Simulating vegetation in ancient Japan using HuMPol: a pollen-based multi-scenario modeling approach. PAGES Magazine, 26, 22-23.

Crema, E.R. (2018). Statistical Inference and Archaeological Simulations, The SAA Archaeological Record,18(2), 20-23.

Crema, E.R., Bevan, A., Shennan, S.(2017). Spatio-temporal approaches to archaeological radiocarbon dates. Journal of Archaeological Science 87, 1-9. DOI:10.1016/j.jas.2017.09.007

Bortolini, E., Pagani, L., Crema, E.R., Sarno, S., Barbieri, C., Boattini, A., Sazzini, M., Silva, S.G. da, Martini, G., Metspalu, M., Pettener, D., Luiselli, D., Tehrani, J.J., (2017). Inferring patterns of folktale diffusion using genomic data. PNAS 201614395. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1614395114

Biagetti, S., Merlo, S., Adam, E., Lobo, A., Conesa, F.C., Knight, J., Bekrani, H., Crema, E.R., Alcaina-Mateos, J., Madella, M., (2017). High and Medium Resolution Satellite Imagery to Evaluate Late Holocene Human–Environment Interactions in Arid Lands: A Case Study from the Central Sahara. Remote Sensing 9, 351. DOI:10.3390/rs9040351

Ribéreau-Gayon, A., Rando, C., Schuliar, Y., Chapenoire, S., Crema, E.R., Claes, J., Seret, B., Maleret, V., Morgan, R.M., (2017). Extensive unusual lesions on a large number of immersed human victims found to be from cookiecutter sharks (Isistius spp.): an examination of the Yemenia plane crash. International Journal of Legal Medicine 131, 423-432, DOI:10.1007/s00414-016-1449-6

Crema, E.R., Kandler, A., Shennan, S., (2016) Revealing patterns of cultural transmission from frequency data: equilibrium and non-equilibrium assumptions. Scientific Reports 6, 39122. DOI:10.1038/srep39122

Crema, E.R. ,Habu, J., Kobayashi, K., Madella, M. (2016). Summed Probability Distribution of 14C Dates Suggests Regional Divergences in the Population Dynamics of the Jomon Period in Eastern Japan. PloS ONE 11(4): e0154809, DOI:

Biagetti, S., Alcaina-Mateos, J., Crema, E.R. (2016). A matter of ephemerality. The study of Kel Tadrart campsites via quantitative spatial analysis. Ecology and Society 21 (1): 42, DOI:

Manning, K., College S., Crema, E.R., Shennan, S., Timpson, A. (2016). The Cultural Evolution of Neolithic Europe. EUROEVOL Dataset 1: Sites, Phases and Radiocarbon Data, Journal of Open Archaeology Data, 5: e2, DOI:

Fort, J., Crema, E.R.  Madella, M. (2015) Modeling Demic and Cultural Diffusion: An Introduction, Human Biology, 87 (3), 141-149.

Crema, E.R., Lake, M. (2015) Cultural Incubators and Spread of Innovation (2015), Human Biology, 87 (3), 151-168.

Manning, K, Timpson, A., Shennan, S., Crema, E.R. (2015) Size Reduction in Early European Domestic Cattle Relates to Intensification of Neolithic Herding Strategies. PLOS ONE 10(12): e0141873.

Shennan, S., Crema, E.R., Kerig, T. (2015). Isolation-by-distance, homophily, and "core" vs. "package" cultural evolution models in Neolithic Europe. Evolution and Human Behaviour. 36 (2), 103-109.

Manning, K, Timpson, A., College, S. Crema, E.R., Edinborough, K., Kerig, T., Shennan, S. (2014). The chronology of culture. A comparative assessment of European Neolithic dating methods. Antiquity, 88.  1065-1080.

Timpson, A., Colledge, S., Crema, E.R., Edinborough, K., Kerig, T., Manning, K., Thomas, M.G., Shennan, S. (2014). Reconstructing regional demographies of the European Neolithic using ‘dates as data’: a new case-study using an improved method. Journal of Archaeological Science, 52, 549–557.

Crema, E.R., Edinborough, K., Kerig, T., Shennan, S. (2014) An Approximate Bayesian Computation approach for inferring patterns of cultural evolutionary change. Journal of Archaeological Science, 50, 160-170.

Bevan, A., Crema, E.R. (2014) Une modélisation géographiquement explicite d’interaction culturelle. Dialectes crétois modernes, archéologie de l'âge de bronze. Les Nouvelles de l’Archéologie, 135, 45-50

Crema E.R. (2014). A simulation model of fission-fusion dynamics and long-term settlement change. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory , 21, 385-404.

Mannino, M. A., Thomas, K.D., Crema E.R., and Leng, M.J. (2014). A matter of taste? Mode and periodicity of marine mollusc exploitation on the Mediterranean island of Favignana (Ègadi Islands, Italy) during its isolation in the early Holocene, Archaeofauna: International Journal of Archaeozoology, 23, 133-147.

Crema, E.R., Kerig, T., Shennan, S. (2014). Culture, Space, and Metapopulation: a simulation-based study for evaluating signals of blending and branching in archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Science, 43, 289-298.

Eve, S., Crema, E.R. (2014). A House with a View?  Multi-model inference, visibility fields, and point process analysis of a Bronze Age settlement on Leskernick Hill (Cornwall, UK). Journal of Archaeological Science, 43, 267-277.

Crema E.R. (2013). Cycles of change in Jomon settlement: a case study from Eastern Tokyo Bay. Antiquity, 87, 1169-1181

Crema, E.R., (2012) Modelling temporal uncertainty in archaeological analysis. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory,19, 440-461.

Crema, E.R. and Nishino M. (2012). Spatio-temporal distributions of Middle to Late Jomon pithouses in Oyumino, Chiba (Japan). Journal of Open Archaeology Data, 1 (2)  DOI:

Lake, M. and Crema E.R. (2012). The cultural evolution of adaptive-trait diversity when resources are uncertain and finite, Advances in Complex Systems, 15, 1150013.

Crema, E.R., Bevan, A. and Lake, M. (2010). A probabilistic framework for assessing spatiotemporal point patterns in the archaeological record. Journal of Archaeological Science, 37, 1118-1130.

Mulazzani, S., Boussoffara, R., Aouadi, N., Azzarà, V., Belhouchet, L., Boujekben, A., Crema, E.R., Curci, A., Del Grande, C., Maini, E., Mannino, M., Mazzanti, C., Scaruffi, S. (2008). Entre Sahara et Méditterranée. Le peuplement de Sebkhet Halk el menjel (Tunisie Orientale) penadant l’Holocène (Campagnes 2002-2005). Africa, XXI, 189-212.


Edited Special Issues

Fort, J., Crema, E.R.  Madella, M. (2015) Modeling Demic and Cultural Diffusion, Human Biology, 87 (3).


Book Chapters

Crema, E.R. (2020). Non-Stationarity and Local Spatial Analysis. In Archaeological Spatial Analysis: A Methodological Guide, M. Gillings, P. Hacıgüzeller and G. Lock (Eds.), Springer, pp 155-168.

Kandler, A., Crema, E.R. (2019). Analysing Cultural Frequency Data: Neutral Theory and Beyond. In Handbook of Evolutionary Research in Archaeology, A. Prentiss (Eds.), Springer, pp 83-108.

Edinborough, K., Crema, E.R., Kerig, T., Shennan, S. (2015) An ABC of lithic arrowheads: A case study from southeastern France. In Brink, K., Hydén, S., Jennbert, K., Larsson,L., Olausson, D. (Eds.) Neolithic Diversities. Perspectives from a conference in Lund, Sweden, Acta Archaeologica Lundensia, Series in 8o, No. 65. Lund, pp. 213-223

Crema, E.R. (2015). Time and probabilistic reasoning in Settlement Analysis. In Barceló, J.A., Bogdanovic, I. (Eds.) Mathematics in Archaeology, CRC Press, pp. 314-334.

Crema E.R. (2015). Modeling settlement rank-size fluctuations. In Wurzer, G. Kowarik, K. and Reschreiter, H. (eds.) Agent-based modeling and Simulation in Archaeology. Advances in Geographic Information Science, Springer, pp.161-181.

Bevan, A, Crema, E.R., Li, Xiuzhen, and Palmisano, A. (2013). Intensities, Interactions and Uncertainties: Some New Approaches to Archaeological Distributions. In Bevan, A. and Lake, M. (eds.) Computational Approaches to Archaeological Space. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press. 27-52.

Crema, E.R. and Bianchi, E. (2013). Looking for patterns in the noise: non-site spatial analysis at Sebkha Kalbia (Tunisia). In Mulazzani, S. (Ed.) Le Capsien de hergla (Tunisie). Culture, environnement et économie. Frankfurt: Africa Magna Verlag, pp. 385-395.

Crema, E.R., (2011). Aoristic approaches and voxel models for spatial analysis. In: Jerem, E.,Redo, F. & Szeverényi, V. (Eds.) On the road to reconstructing the past. Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. Proceedings of the 36th International Conference, Budapest, April 2-6, 2008. Budapest: Archeolingua, pp.179-186.

Mulazzani, S., Boussoffara, R., Azzarà, V., Belhouchet, L., Boldrin, M. Boujekben, A., Crema, E.R., Mannino, M.A., Del Grande C., Mazzanti C., Scaruffi, S. (2008). Between the Sahara and the Mediterranean: a study of the Middle Holocene communities of the Sebkhet Halk al Menzel (Tunisia). The first three Campaigns 2002-2004, In Menozzi O., Di Marzio M. L., Fossataro D. (Eds.) SOMA 2005 Proceedings of the IX Symposium on Mediterranean Archaeology, Chieti (Italy), 24- 26 February 2005. BAR International Series, n. 1793, Oxford: Archaeopress, pp 383-390.


Teaching and Supervisions


** PLEASE NOTE: I will be on research leave for the academic years 2020-21 and 2021-22 **

I am the coordinator of the following courses:

I also participate in the teaching of the following courses:

  • A2 Archaeology in Action
  • G02 Core Archaeology
  • Digital Skills for Dissertation
Research supervision: 

I am currently supervising the following PhD students:

Students with recent PhD Completion

Other Professional Activities

I am an associate editor of Journal of Archaeological Science, and member of the editorial board of Japanese Journal of Archaeology, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports and Journal of Open Archaeology Data;

I peer-reviewed for American AntiquityAnimal Behavior, Antiquity; Anthropological and Archaeological Sciences; Current Anthropology; Environmental Archaeology; Frontiers in Digital Archaeology; Humanities and Social Sciences CommunicationsJournal of Anthropological ArchaeologyJournal of Archaeological Science; Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports; Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory; Journal of Quaternary Science​,  Nature CommunicationsNature: Scientific Reports; Nature Human Behaviour, Open Quaternary; Papers of the Institute of Archaeology; PLOS ONE; Proceedings of the Computer Applications in Archaeology ConferenceQuaternary International; Radiocarbon, Theoretical Population BiologyTrends in Ecology & Evolution; World Archaeology; the National Science Foundation, and edited volumes for Ubiquity Press and Springer.  

Job Titles

Senior Lecturer in Computational Analysis of Long-Term Human Cultural and Biological Dynamics

General Info

Takes PhD students
Not available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Archaeological Theory
Computational and Quantitative Archaeology
Cultural Evolution

Contact Details

Office G.5, Courtyard Building
McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
Downing Street
01223 (3)39335


Person keywords: 
Cultural Evolution
Computer Simulations
Archaeological Theory
Settlement Pattern
Spatial Analysis
Japanese Prehistory
Origins and Spread of Farming
Archaeological Science
Biological Anthropology
Science, Technology and Innovation
Human Evolutionary Studies
Geographical areas: 
East Asia
Periods of interest: 
Other Prehistory