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Regional variations in the European Neolithic dispersal: the role of the coastlines

Abstract

The mechanisms by which agriculture spread across Europe in the Neolithic, and the speed at which it happened, have long been debated. Attempts to quantify the process by constructing spatio-temporal models have given a diversity of results. In this paper, a new approach to the problem of modelling is advanced. Data from over 300 Neolithic sites from Asia Minor and Europe are used to produce a global picture of the emergence of farming across Europe which also allows for variable local conditions. Particular attention is paid to coastal enhancement: the more rapid advance of the Neolithic along coasts and rivers, as compared with inland or terrestrial domains. The key outcome of this model is hence to confirm the importance of waterways and coastal mobilities in the spread of farming in the early Neolithic, and to establish the extent to which this importance varied regionally.

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Regional variations in the European Neolithic dispersal: the role of the coastlines

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