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Regional population collapse followed initial agriculture booms in mid-Holocene Europe.

Shennan, S; Downey, SS; Timpson, A; Edinborough, K; Colledge, S; Kerig, T; Manning, K; (2013) Regional population collapse followed initial agriculture booms in mid-Holocene Europe. Nat Commun , 4 , Article 2486. 10.1038/ncomms3486. Green open access

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Abstract

Following its initial arrival in SE Europe 8,500 years ago agriculture spread throughout the continent, changing food production and consumption patterns and increasing population densities. Here we show that, in contrast to the steady population growth usually assumed, the introduction of agriculture into Europe was followed by a boom-and-bust pattern in the density of regional populations. We demonstrate that summed calibrated radiocarbon date distributions and simulation can be used to test the significance of these demographic booms and busts in the context of uncertainty in the radiocarbon date calibration curve and archaeological sampling. We report these results for Central and Northwest Europe between 8,000 and 4,000 cal. BP and investigate the relationship between these patterns and climate. However, we find no evidence to support a relationship. Our results thus suggest that the demographic patterns may have arisen from endogenous causes, although this remains speculative.

Type: Article
Title: Regional population collapse followed initial agriculture booms in mid-Holocene Europe.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3486
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms3486
Additional information: © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
Keywords: Biological sciences; Evolution; Palaeontology
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
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/1398968
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