Social & Political Sciences

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Alex Bentley

Department Head
Department of Anthropology
Tennessee State University
United States of America


Professor Bentley started Fall 2017 as the new Head of Anthropology at UTK. The previous two years he served as Professor and Department Chair at University of Houston, and before that, Bentley spent fourteen years at British universities. In the U.K. Bentley was first a postdoc at the Institute of Archaeology University College London (2001-2005), then reader Anthropology Department at Durham University (2005-2011), and then Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology at University of Bristol (2011-2015), where he was also Head (2012-2014). In Fall 2011, Bentley spent a sabbatical semester at Northwestern University, in the Anthropology Departmet and Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems, where he remains external faculty  

Research Interest

Bentley’s research involves interdisciplinary analysis of culture change, past and  present. This involves two main methodologies, one in analysis of isotopes in archaeological skeletal material, and the other in data-driven quantitative modeling of culture change.  


  • Bentley RA, O’Brien MJ, Manning K, Shennan S. On the relevance of the European Neolithic. Antiquity. 2015 Oct;89(347):1203-10.

  • Caiado CC, Brock WA, Bentley RA, O’Brien MJ. Fitness landscapes among many options under social influence. Journal of Theoretical Biology. 2016 Sep 21;405:5-16.

  • Bentley RA, O’Brien MJ. Collective behaviour, uncertainty and environmental change. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A. 2015 Nov 28;373(2055):20140461.

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