The First Farmers of Europe: An Evolutionary Perspective

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Cambridge University Press, May 3, 2018 - Social Science - 253 pages
Knowledge of the origin and spread of farming has been revolutionised in recent years by the application of new scientific techniques, especially the analysis of ancient DNA from human genomes. In this book, Stephen Shennan presents the latest research on the spread of farming by archaeologists, geneticists and other archaeological scientists. He shows that it resulted from a population expansion from present-day Turkey. Using ideas from the disciplines of human behavioural ecology and cultural evolution, he explains how this process took place. The expansion was not the result of 'population pressure' but of the opportunities for increased fertility by colonising new regions that farming offered. The knowledge and resources for the farming 'niche' were passed on from parents to their children. However, Shennan demonstrates that the demographic patterns associated with the spread of farming resulted in population booms and busts, not continuous expansion.


The Speed of the LBK Spread
Population Ecology of the LBK Expansion
The Decline and Disappearance of the LBK
Expansion and Adaptation
The Young Neolithic c 64005500 BP in Northern France
PostLBK Genetics and the ReEmergence of Indigenous Hunter
Summary and Conclusion
The Process of Colonisation
Middle Neolithic Subsistence and the Population Bust
After the Crash

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About the author (2018)

Stephen Shennan is Professor of Theoretical Archaeology at the University College London Institute of Archaeology, where he was Director 2005-2014. His main interest is explaining stability and change in prehistory in the light of evolutionary ideas. He has published over 120 papers and books, including Quantifying Archaeology (2nd edition, 1997), Genes, Memes and Human History (2002), and Pattern and Process in Cultural Evolution (edited, 2009). He is a Fellow of the British Academy and a member of the Academia Europaea. He received the Rivers Medal of the Royal Anthropological Institute in 2010 and a Shanghai Archaeological Forum Research Award for his EUROEVOL project in 2015.

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