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What is the CECD? 
The CECD is an AHRC funded research group dedicated to examining the evolutionary underpinnings of human cultural behaviour, past and present. more>

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Principal Investigator Profile
Prof Alex Bentley
Professor, Department of Archaeology & Anthropology, Bristol University

43 Woodland Road
Tel: +44 (0)117 331 1191

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Research and Teaching interests
Please see personal website at

(as this site not updated so often)
Educational Background
B.A. Bowdoin College, Physics
M.A. Cornell University, Archaeology 1996
M.S. Cornell University, Geology (Geochemistry) 1997
Ph.D. University of Wisconsin, Anthropology 2001
Associated Links:

Associated AHRC CECD Projects (Phase 2):
Project A003
Human mobility and kinship during and after the transition to agriculture in Neolithic Europe and Southeast Asia
Project C003
Fashions and science: The complex effects of random copying versus independent thinking

Associated AHRC CEACB Projects (Phase 1):
Project 009
Random copying and culture change
Project 010
Does technological evolution occur on smooth or rugged fitness landscapes?
Project 040
Human mobility and the prehistoric spread of farming: Isotopes in archaeological skeletons

Associated Publications - AHRC CECD - phase 2:
Acerbi, A., V. Lampos, P. Garnett & R.A. Bentley (2013).
The expression of emotions in 20th century books.PLoS ONE. Vol 8(3). e59030.
Bentley, R.A. (2013).
Mobility and the diversity of Early Neolithic lives: isotopic evidence from skeletons..Journal of Anthropological Archaeology. Vol 33. in press.
Bentley, R.A. & M.J. O'Brien (2013).
Cultural evolutionary tipping points in the storage and transmission of information .Frontiers in Psychology. Vol 3. article 569.
Bentley, R.A., M.J. O'Brien, W.A. Brock (2013).
Mapping collective behavior in the big-data era..Behavior and Brain Sciences. in press.
King, C.L., R.A. Bentley, N.G. Tayles, U. Strand-Vi?arsd?ttir; G.M Nowell, C.G. Macpherson (2013).
Moving peoples, changing diets: Isotopic differences highlight migration and subsistence changes in the Upper Mun River Valley, Thailand. .Journal of Archaeological Science . Vol 40. 1681-1688.
Bentley, R.A., M.J. O'Brien (2012).
Tipping points, animal culture and social learning.Current Zoology. Vol 58. 298-306.
Bentley, R.A., P. Bickle, L. Fibiger, G.M. Nowell, C.W. Dale, R.E.M. Hedges, J. Hamilton, J. Wahl, M. Francken, G. Grupe, E. Lenneis, M. Teschler-Nicola, R.-M. Arbogast, D. Hofmann & A. Whittle (2012).
Community differentiation and kinship among Europe's first farmers. .Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. Vol 109. 9326-9330..
Bentley, R.A., P. Garnett, M.J. O'Brien & W.A Brock (2012).
Word diffusion and climate science. .PLoS ONE. Vol 7(11). e47966.
Bentley, R.A., P. Ormerod (2012).
Accelerated innovation and increased spatial diversity in U.S. popular culture .Advances in Complex Systems. Vol 15. 1150011.
Holtby, I., C. Scarre, R.A. Bentley, P. Rowley-Conwy (2012).
Disease, CCR5-∆32 and the European spread of agriculture? .Antiquity. Vol 86. 207-210.
Bentley, R.A., M. Earls, M.J. O'Brien (2011).
I'll Have What She's Having: Mapping Social Behavior.MIT Press: Cambridge MA.
Bentley, R.A., M.J. O?Brien, P. Ormerod (2011).
Quality versus mere popularity: a conceptual map for understanding human behaviour .Mind & Society. Vol 10. 181-191.
Bentley, R.A., P Ormerod, M. Batty (2011).
Evolving social influence in large populations.Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. Vol 65. 537-546.
Bentley, R.A., P. Ormerod, S.J. Shennan (2011).
Population-level neutral model already explains linguistic patterns..Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Vol 278. 1770-1772.
Bickle, P. D. Hofmann, R.A. Bentley, R.E.M. Hedges, J. Hamilton, F. Laiginhas, G. Nowell, D.G. Pearson, G. Grupe and A.W.R. Whittle (2011).
Roots of diversity in a Linearbandkeramik community: isotope evidence at Aiterhofen (Bavaria, Germany) .Antiquity . Vol 85 . 1243?1258.
O'Brien, M.J., R.A. Bentley (2011).
Stimulated variation, cascades, and the evolution of complex technological systems. .Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory. Vol 9. 1-17.
Byers, B.E., K.L. Belinsky, R.A. Bentley (2010).
Independent cultural evolution of two song traditions in the chestnut-sided warbler. American Naturalist. Vol 176. 476?489.
Bentley, R.A. and H.D.G. Maschner (eds.) (2008).
Handbook of Archaeological Theories.Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.
Bentley, R.A.(ed.) (2008).
The Edge of Reason? Science and Religion in Modern Society.Continuum International Publishing Group, London, UK.
Bentley, R.A., M. Earls (2008).
Forget influentials, herd-like copying is how brands spread.Admap magazine. Vol November. 19-22.
Bentley, R.A., P. Ormerod, M.E. Madsen (2008).
Physical space and long-tail markets.Physica A. Vol 388. 691–696.
Bentley, R.A (2008).
Random drift versus selection in academic vocabulary.PLoS ONE. Vol 3(8). e3057.
Bentley, R.A., C.P. Lipo, H. Herzog and M.W. Hahn (2007).
Regular rates of popular culture change reflect random copying.Evolution and Human Behavior. Vol 28. 151-158.
Bentley, R.A., N. Tayles, C.F.W. Higham, C. MacPherson and T.C. Atkinson (2007).
Shifting gender relations at Khok Phanom Di, Thailand: Isotopic evidence from the skeletons.Current Anthropology. Vol 48. 301-314.
Bentley, R.A (2007).
Mobility, specialisation and community diversity in the Linearbandkeramik: isotopic evidence from the skeletons.A. Whittle & V. Cummings (eds.). Going Over: The Mesolithic-Neolithic Transition in North-West Europe. London: British Academy. 117-140.
Bentley, R.A (2007).
Fashion versus reason – then and now.Antiquity. Vol 81. 1071-1073.
Bentley, R.A (2007).
Why do team-authored papers get cited more? (Comment).Science. Vol 317. 1496.
Bentley, R.A (2007).
Social complexity in behavioral models.Behavioral and Brain Sciences. Vol 30. 19.
R.A. Bentley (2006).
Occupy the Neolithic.ScienceNow.
Dr. Alex Bentley. In conection with project C003: (2006).
Order and Chaos.SETI Institute Science Radio.
Dr. Alex Bentley. In connection with project C003 (2006).
Fashion is fickle, but change constant.The Times.
Dr. Alex Bentley. In connection with project C003: (2006).
Why we're slaves to the latest fashion fads.MSNBC.
Dr. Alex Bentley (2006).
Cultural evolution.BBC Radio 4: Leading Edge.
Bentley, R.A (2006).
Strontium isotopes from the Earth to the archaeological skeleton: A review.Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory. Vol 35. 82-91.
Tafuri, M.A., R.A. Bentley, G. Manzi and S. di Lernia (2006).
Mobility and kinship in the prehistoric Sahara: strontium isotope analysis of Holocene human skeletons from the Acacus Mts. (southwestern Libya).Journal of Anthropological Archaeology. Vol 25. 390-402.
Associated Publications - AHRC CEACB - phase 1:
Bentley, R.A. and H.D.G. Maschner (eds.) (2008).
Handbook of Archaeological Theories.Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.
Bentley, R.A., C.P. Lipo and H.D.G. Maschner (2008).
Darwinian Archaeologies.R.A. Bentley, H.D.G. Maschner & C. Chippindale (eds.). Handbook of Archaeological Theories. Altamira Press : Lanham. 109-132.
Dr. Alex Bentley (2006).
Cultural evolution.BBC Radio 4: Leading Edge.
Bentley, R.A. and S.J. Shennan (2005).
Random copying and cultural evolution (Comment).Science. Vol 309. 877-879.
Bentley, R.A., M. Pietrusewsky, M.T. Douglas & T.C. Atkinson (2005).
Matrilocality during the prehistoric transition to agriculture in Thailand?.Antiquity. Vol 79. 865-881.
Bentley, R.A (2005).
Characterising human mobility at Khok Phanom Di by strontium isotope analysis of the skeletons.Charles Higham & Rachanie Thosarat (eds.). Khok Phanom Di: Summary and Conclusions. Oxford: Oxbow Books. 159-166.
Bentley, R. A., M.W. Hahn and S. J. Shennan (2004).
Random drift and culture change.Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Vol 271. 1443-1450.
Bentley, R.A., T.D. Price and E. Stephan (2004).
Determining the local 87Sr/86Sr range for archaeological skeletons: a case study from Neolithic Europe.Journal of Archaeological Science. Vol 31. 365-375.
from the Economist print edition 20 May (2004).
Moniker's progress.The Economist.
Herzog, H.A., R. A. Bentley and M. W. Hahn (2004).
Random drift and large shifts in popularity of dog breeds.Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Vol 271. S353-S356.
Roger Highfield, 16 June (2004).
Why are they so popular?.The Daily Telegraph.
Bentley, R.A. and S. Shennan (2003).
Cultural evolution and stochastic network growth.American Antiquity. Vol 68. 459-485.
Bentley, R.A. and H.D.G. Maschner (eds.) (2003).
Complex Systems and Archaeology: Empirical and Theoretical Applications.Salt Lake City: University of Utah press.
Bentley, R.A., R. Krause, T.D. Price and B. Kaufmann (2003).
Human mobility at the early Neolithic settlement of Vaihingen, Germany: evidence from strontium isotope analysis.Archaeometry. Vol 45. 481-496.
Bentley, R.A., T.D. Price and L. Chikhi (2003).
Comparing broad scale genetic and local scale isotopic evidence for the spread of agriculture into Europe.Antiquity. Vol 77. 63-66.
Hahn, M.W. and R.A. Bentley (2003).
Cultural transmission and genetic drift: A case study using baby names.Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Vol 270. S1-S4.
Price, T.D., J. Wahl, G. Kurz, E. Burger-Heinrich, C. Knipper and R. A. Bentley (2003).
Das bandkeramische Gräberfeld von Stuttgart-Mühlhausen: Anthropologische Untersuchungen und chemische Analysen... Funda, D.T. (ed.). Fundberichte aus Baden-Württemberg. Kommissionsverlag Konrad Theiss Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany,. 23-58.
Bentley, R.A., T.D. Price, J. Lüning, D. Gronenborn, J. Wahl and P.D. Fullagar (2002).
Human migration in early Neolithic Europe.Current Anthropology. Vol 43. 799-804.
Price, T.D., J.H. Burton and R.A. Bentley (2002).
The characterisation of biologically-available strontium isotope ratios for investigation of prehistoric migration.Archaeometry. Vol 44. 117-135.