Charles Higham and the Genesis of the 'Chronometric Hygiene' Approach to Evaluating SE Asian-Pacific Radiocarbon Dates

Australian National University, Australia

Vanuatu Cultural Centre, Vanuatu

Charles' work on dating the emergence of bronze metallurgy in MSEA inspired what is now almost an industry of 'chronometric hygiene' papers across the world, the first of them being my efforts on Non Nok Tha dating in 1987 which appeared in the Ancient Chinese Bronzes book (although it took about a decade to get published, appearing in 1996-7). This was closely followed by my 1989 paper in Antiquity where 'chronometric hygiene' was first used in the title – the term invented by Wilfred Shawcross to describe a seminar presentation on the subject I’d given the year before. From a history of archaeology perspective, I discuss the genesis of the ‘chronometric hygiene’ approach and Charles’ role in it.