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Title: A regional biological approach to the spread of farming in Europe
Authors: Pinhasi, Ron
Pluciennik, Mark
First Published: 2004
Citation: Current Anthropology, 2004, 45, (S4), (Special Supplement), pp.59-82
Abstract: This article examines the potential contribution of archaeological human skeletal material, in particular craniometric data, to interpretations of the nature of the transition to farming in Europe. The material is discussed particularly in relation to recent debates about demographic variables and processes and modern genetic frequency patterns. It is suggested that biological morphometrics enables the comparison of ancient populations on a regional basis. Analysis of the material suggests that there was considerable morphological heterogeneity among the earliest farmers of the Levant belonging to the PrePottery Neolithic but that similar variability is generally not seen among the earliest mainland agriculturalists of southeastern Europe. We propose that this may be explained by the existence of a genetic bottleneck among Anatolian populations and that it supports models of the largely exogenous origin of many early Neolithic populations in this region. Regional comparisons further demonstrate a biologically more complex relationship between Mesolithic and Neolithic populations in the central and western Mediterranean. The regional and chronological variability of transitions to farming is stressed, and it is pointed out that different techniques highlight different aspects of the processes involved at a range of scales and resolutions.
DOI Link: 10.1086/422085
ISSN: 1537-5382
Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Archaeology and Ancient History

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