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Professor Tom Higham

Professor of Archaeological Science

Interim Director, Advanced Studies Centre


I am the Deputy Director of the Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, in the Research Lab for Archaeology and the History of Art.  I work in the field of radiocarbon dating, with specific reference to archaeology, focussing particularly on improvements to reliability and accuracy in sample pretreatment chemistry. I am also the Interim Director of the Advanced Studies Centre

Research Interests

I am the Principal Investigator on a NERC funded project concerned with radiocarbon dating the dispersal of the first anatomically modern  humans in western Europe and the subsequent extinction of  Neanderthals, and also a member of the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain (AHOB) project which is investigating human occupation in Britain and Europe over the last million years.

My recent research has been published in Science, PNAS and Antiquity.

I also teach a small number of the first year undergraduate tutorials in Archaeology.

Recent Publications

  • Higham, T.F.G. et al., 'Deep sequencing of RNA from ancient maize kernels' in PLoS ONE, 8 (2013)
  • Higham, T.F. G. et al, 'Radiocarbon dating casts doubt on the late chronology of the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition in southern Iberia' in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, February 4 (2013)
  • Higham, T.F.G. et al., 'A new date for the Neanderthals of El Sidron Cave (Asturias, Northern Spain)' in Archaeometry, 55(1) (2013), 148-58
  • Higham, T.F.G et al., 'Precision dating of the Palaeolithic: A new radiocarbon chronology for the Abri Pataud (France), a key Aurignacian sequence.' in Journal of Human Evolution, 61(5) (2011), 549-563
  • Higham, T.F.G, 'European Middle and Upper Palaeolithic radiocarbon dates are often older than they look: problems with previous dates and some remedies.' in Antiquity, 85 (2011), 235–249
  • Higham, T.F.G, 'Radiocarbon dates from the Oxford AMS system: Archaeometry datelist 34' in Archaeometry, 53(5) (2011), 1067–1084
  • Higham, T.F.G et al., 'The chronology of the Grotte du Renne (France) and implications for the association of ornaments and human remains within the Châtelperronian.' in Procs. of the National Academy of Sciences of the US, 107(47) (2010), 20234-20239
  • Higham, T.F.G et al., 'Radiocarbon dating, stable isotope analysis, and diet-derived offsets in 14C ages from the Klin Yar site, Russian north Caucasus' in Radiocarbon, 53 (2010), 653–670
  • Ramsey, C.R., Dee, M.W., Rowland, J.M., Higham, T.F.G., Harris, S.A., Brock, F., Quiles, A., Wild, E.M., Marcus, E.S & Shortland, A.J., 'Radiocarbon-Based Chronology for Dynastic Egypt.' in Science, 328 (5985) (2010), 1554-57
  • Bonneau, A., Brock, F., Higham, T.F.G., Pearce, D.G and Pollard, A.M. , 'An improved pretreatment protocol for radiocarbon dating black pigments in San rock art.' in Radiocarbon, 53(3), 419–428

College Contact Details

Professor Tom Higham
Keble College
Telephone: 01865 285231
Fax: 01865 285220

Faculty/Dept. Information

Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit
Research Lab for Archaeology and the History of Art