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Holocene fluctuations in human population demonstrate repeated links to food production and climate

Bevan, A; Colledge, S; Fuller, D; Fyfe, R; Shennan, S; Stevens, C; (2017) Holocene fluctuations in human population demonstrate repeated links to food production and climate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , 114 (49) E10524-E10531. 10.1073/pnas.1709190114. Green open access

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Abstract

We consider the long-term relationship between human demography, food production, and Holocene climate via an archaeological radiocarbon date series of unprecedented sampling density and detail. There is striking consistency in the inferred human population dynamics across different regions of Britain and Ireland during the middle and later Holocene. Major cross-regional population downturns in population coincide with episodes of more abrupt change in North Atlantic climate and witness societal responses in food procurement as visible in directly dated plants and animals, often with moves toward hardier cereals, increased pastoralism, and/or gathered resources. For the Neolithic, this evidence questions existing models of wholly endogenous demographic boom–bust. For the wider Holocene, it demonstrates that climate-related disruptions have been quasi-periodic drivers of societal and subsistence change.

Type: Article
Title: Holocene fluctuations in human population demonstrate repeated links to food production and climate
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1709190114
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1709190114
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions. - Correction issued April 2, 2018 (https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1804206115).
Keywords: Radiocarbon, archaeology, Britain, Ireland, agriculture
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10038587
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