10th NEOLITHIC SEMINAR

The Neolithization of Eurasia - Paradigms, Models and Concepts Involved

Ljubljana, Thursday 6th - Saturday 8th November 2003

Abstract book

Dr. Maja Andric, Transition to farming and human impact on the Slovenian landscape

The Holocene landscape development in Slovenia was very dynamic, with two major changes of the vegetation composition. Firstly, palynological record indicates that the composition of rather uniform early Holocene woodland of hazel (Corylus), oak (Quercus), elm (Ulmus) and lime (Tilia) changed at ca. 6800 cal. BC, when shade-tolerant tree taxa such as beech (Fagus) and fir (Abies) became widespread and distinctive phytogeographic regions appeared.

No major forest clearance occurred at the Neolithic transition to farming. However, small-scale forest clearance, burning and coppicing during the Neolithic period can be detected and these presumably led to the formation of mosaic environment and increased biodiversity. Second major change of vegetation intensive forest clearance resulting in formation of the present-day Slovenian landscape occurred much later (ca. 1000 cal. BC 1400 AD).

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Dr. Guido Barbujani, Current genetic diversity and the demographic impact of the Neolithic transition in Europe

Genetic data contain information on past demographic processes, and can be used to reconstruct otherwise elusive aspects of human prehistory. A controversial question is whether or not the Neolithic transition entailed a substantial population replacement in Europe. After reviewing some assumptions and limitations of current methods for genetic inference, I shall describe an analysis in which each European population is regarded as a hybrid between admixing Paleolithic hunter-gatherers and Neolithic farmers. The results of that and other population-genetic analyses suggest that a large share of the ancestors of current Europeans lived in the Levant before the Neolithic period.

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Dr. Jean-Pierre Bocquet-Appel, Expected paleoanthropological and archaeological signal from a Neolithic demographic transition on a worldwide scale

A signal of major demographic change was detected from a paleoanthropological database of 68 Meso-Neolithic cemeteries in Europe (reduced to 36 due to a sampling bias). The signal is characterized by a relatively abrupt change in the proportion of immature skeletons (aged 5- 19 years), relatively to all buried skeletons (5 years +). From the Meso to the Neolithic, the proportion rose from approximately 20% to 30%. This change reflects a noticeable increase in the birth rate over duration of approximately 500-700 years, and is referred to as the Neolithic Demographic Transition (NDT). Another category of independent archaeological data, enclosures (N_700), which are interpreted as a response to population growth within the social area, reveals similar signal to the paleoanthropological data, at the same tempo. If this is a true signal, we should expect it to be detected also in all independent centres of agricultural invention worldwide, from China to Mesoamerica and S-E America, during the chronological window from 10,000 to 4000 years BP. The likely pattern of the NDT (the birth-rate rises, then the death rate before returning to homeostatic equilibrium) is the mirror image of the last natural demographic transition from the Western countries (decrease in the death rate, then in the birth-rate). In the independent agro-pastoral centres, the return to equilibrium was probably caused by the local emergence of new pathogens, mainly related to the coexistence of humans and animals. The NDT is at the historical root of the preindustrial populations that would gradually spread across the Earth and which are now rapidly disappearing.

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Dr. Amy Bogaard, The role of intensive crop cultivation in the spread of farming

Ecological analysis of crop and weed assemblages from early neolithic sites in central Europe points to intensive cultivation involving manuring, careful tillage and weeding. This paper considers the possibility that intensive cultivation constituted the general form of early crop husbandry from at least the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period in the Near East, when communities practised animal husbandry alongside crop cultivation. The argument is made that a focus on the model of cultivation in "naturally fertile" floodplain habitats in discussions of the spread of farming to Europe has obscured the importance of the plant and animal "package". The notion that the use of manure formed part of the secondary products revolution is also discussed.

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Dr. María Dolores Cámalich Massieu, The Neolithic of Southeast of Spain and its problems.

The region of Vera Basin and the valley of the river Almanzora (Almería) shows an intense dynamics of occupation during different historical periods of Recent Prehistory, particularly between the Early Neolithic and the final Late Bronze Age. Several factors, such as the recurrent associations between diverse productions - including the presence of cardial-impressed pots in Cabecicos Negros (Vera) - and the distinctive characteristics of the type of occupation, indicate that the oldest phase of occupation took place during the Andalusian Early Neolithic. The socio-economic pattern is defined both by the exploitation of numerous resources in an area of variable size, and by the temporary occupation of settlements, with seasonal or periodical variations. This constant mobility was aimed at obtaining different subsistence goods, as well as obtaining and/or transforming primary resources for manufacturing crafts and exchanging the excess production with communities in the same area or from other regions. Gradually, it is seen that the communities began a process of aggregation and concentration, thereby leading to the appearance of the first stable settlements. By the end of this period, the settlements show a clearly defined spatial organisation and the first standard burial structures. Consequently, it seems that the communities had grown in size and the process of consolidation of social inequalities had developed. At the same time, a system of interactions between different social groups, based on mutual dependence, had been established. This system became the distinctive feature of the political links between social groups during the third millennium BP.

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Dr. W. G. Cavanagh, Walking Backwards to Christmas: Looking Back at the Early Neolithic of S. Greece from a Later Perspective

In her recent review of the Early Neolithic period in Greece Catherine Perlés has emphasised that "the density in the distribution of sites shows important regional variations. The highest density and number are found in Thessaly, . . . in . . .central Greece, Laconia, the Argolid and Euboia . . . the density of known Early Neolithic sites remains substantially lower." (The Early Neolithic in Greece 118). The reasons behind this north-south divide in Greece are still unknown. Established in the early period, however, these patterns persisted for a very long time. Is it possible to use the long-term process to raise questions about the nature of Early Neolithic settlement in S. Greece? It is intended to review this question in the light of recent research including intensive survey and the excavations at Kouphovouno.

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Prof. Chen Quanjia, The Mode of Production and Habitation: New Study on Neolithic Site of Zuojiashan in Jilin, Northeast China

By research work of excavated implement of manufacture and living, all sorts of remains aground and animal bones Neolithic people's mode for manufacture and habitation could be defined as follow at Zuojiashan site: seasonal half-residential life, fishing,hunting and gathering; a small quantity of domestic animals; without agriculture; advanced bone tool manufacturing.

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Dr. Marius Mihai Ciuta, The Neolithisation of The Carpatho-Danubian Region Between Two Paradigmatic Models: Vladimir Milojcic And Milutin Garasanin

This paper deals with the problems regarding the present stage of the research concerning the understanding and reconstruction of the neolithisation process in the Carpatho-Danubian area (the territories between the lower course of the Danube river and the Romanian Carpathians, including the depressions). However, the current perception of this process, as well as of the development of Early Neolithic in this area, is dependent on the way in which the main theories (cultural-chronological systems) about the neolithisation of the entire Balkan Peninsula appeared and developed during the second half of the 20th century. Mainly, we are discussing two fundamental theories: The first one considers the development of the Danubian (and even Balkanic!) Early Neolithic from a global perspective (an uniformitarian one), as corresponding to only one unitary culture that has a vast area of development and multiple phases and stages (Starcevo-Cris-Körös - I-IV). The second one tries to "divide" this phenomenon (seen as a Cultural Complex) into two distinct phases or stages ("The Anatolian-Balkan Complex of the Old Neolithic" and the "Balkan-Danubian Complex") having enough specific characteristics to be accepted as two different cultural phenomena, both in time and concerning their cultural evolution. The paper starts from the presentation of the recent discoveries from Romania, belonging to the cultural horizon of the "White-on-Red Painted Pottery" Assemblage (Pavuk 1993, together with the discoveries belonging to the similar horizon from Hungary, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria: Protosesklo-Protostarcevo-KaranovoI-Donja Branjevina I-II (?)-Gura Baciului I-Ocna Sibiului I-Cârcea I-Precric etc. and aims to bring an easily "changed" perspective concerning the way to perceive the process of genesis and development of the first Neolithic life forms in the Balkan-Danubian area.

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Dr. P. Dolukhanov,Dr. A. Shukurov & Dr. V. Timofeev Modelling the Neolithic dispersal in northern Eurasia.

Since Childe (1925), the spread of early agricultural sites of Linear Pottery Culture (LBK) in Central Europe was viewed as a classical example of prehistoric migration. Recent studies (Whittle, 1996; Price, 2001) attach much greater significance to indigenous adoption and contacts between invading farmers and local foragers (Gronenborn, 1999). These views were strengthened by the discovery of a distinct cultural tradition in the north-western part of the LBK area, La Hoguette, viewed as belonging to local Mesolithic groups that started practicing horticulture and herding before the arrival of the LBK (Lünnig et al. 1989); Price et al., 2001).

Recently performed analysis based on the statistical processing of a large database of radiocarbon dates shows that early agricultural sites in Central Europe were spread within a limited-time span of 5600-4800 BC, with the coeval age of 5154+/-62 BC and the standard deviation 183 years With the largest dimension of the LBK region of about 1500 km (from Transdanubia to Franconia) and the time taken to spread over that area of about 360 years (twice the standard deviation of the LBK's coeval age), the propagation rate of the LBK is assessed as about 4 km/yr. This value is consistent with the earlier estimates of about 6 km/yr obtained by Ammerman & Cavalli-Sforza (1973) and Gikasta et al. (2003). The same writers assess the average rate of the Neolithic dispersal in Europe as a whole as 1 km/s.

New evidence shows that pottery-making appeared at a very early age in Eurasia. Until recently, the 'incipient' stages of Jomon Culture in Japan with the age of c. 11000 BC were considered as the oldest. A new centre of pottery making of a comparable age has been identified in the Russian Far East, on the lower stretches of the Amur River, with the similar age of c. 11,000 BC (Derevyanko & Medvedev 1997; Kuzmin & Orlova 2000).

An important concentration of Neolithic sites, both settlements and burials, has become known in the Baikal area of southern Siberia (Khlobystin 1996). The radiocarbon dates for Kitoi Culture, lie in the time-span of 6000-5300 BC. A still earlier age has been obtained for the Neolithic burial of Lower Djilinda on the Vitim River: 7000-6000 BC.

Large series of radiocarbon dated became available for early pottery cultures on East European Plain. The sites of the Yelshanian Culture (Mamonov 2000) in a steppe area between the Lower Volga and the Ural Rivers show the radiocarbon age of 8025- 7000 BC. Early pottery layers of the Rakushechnyi Yar site on a small island in the lower stretches of the River Don (Belanovskaya 1995) yield the age of 6500-5800 BC. The dates for the Sura Culture in the basin of the Lower Dniepr (Telegin 1996; Kotova 2000) suggest the age of 6200-6000 BC.

The sites of Bug-Dniestrian Culture (Danilenko 1969; Markevich 1974; Kotova 2000) show a coeval age of 6121+/-143 BC (sigma = 101 years).The dates for the early pottery-bearing cultures in the boreal European Russia (Upper Volga, Sperring and other) show a coeval age of 5417+/-30 BC (sigma = 160) years. The remaining dates include those which are older (5800-6200 BC) and younger (4200-5200 BC) than the coeval sample.

The rate of spread of the pottery-bearing cultures in East European Plain, estimated from the extent of the region involved (ca 2500 km for the distance from Yelshanian via Bug-Dniestrian to Upper Volga) and the time of spread (ca 1600 years), is about 1.6 km/yr. This is significantly smaller than the rate of spread of the LBK and yet comparable to the rate of the Neolithisation of Europe. Hence, the available evidence confirms the view that the Neolithisation in the entire northern Eurasia had the character of a diffusion which concrete character depended on local environments. The spread of agricultural sites of the LBK in Central Europe may be viewed as a rapid expansion of a cultural package; in its course the migratory groups of south-east European origin apparently contacted and absorbed local communities. This model may be viewed as corresponding to the expansion of Indo-European languages in Central Europe and their interaction with the proto-Uralic substratum.

The spread of pottery-making in the forest-steppe area of Eurasia started in the Far Eastern at 11000-10000 BC and by 8000-7000 BC reached the south-eastern confines of East European Plain. Tentatively, this process may be approximated with the proliferation of proto-Altaic languages, stemming from the east and directed towards the west, and eventually encompassing the entire forest-steppe. Significantly, the density of pottery-bearing sites on East European Plain reaches its maximum at 5300-4900 BC, and thus overlapping with the spread of the LBK in Central Europe. This time-span corresponded to the Holocene climatic optimum with the maximum rise of temperature and biological productivity. One may suggest that at that time there occurred an infiltration of Indo-European speaking groups into boreal Eastern Europe.

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Dr. Ivan Gatsov, Neolithic chipped stone technology in South Bulgaria and NW Turkey

The paper presents the stage of research of prehistoric chipped stone assemblages in Bulgarian and Turkish Thrace as well as from the South Marmara area. It is was made an attempt to release the link between settlement types, chipped stone assemblages, environmental information and cultural identity in the region between Southern Marmara and Stara planina mountain. It was made an attempt too to detect the main features of stone technology during the transition Epipalaeolithic/Mesolithic/ Neolithic periods in the area considered.

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Dr. Claudio Giardino, Obsidian Trades in Southern Thyrrhenian Sea: New Archaeological and Archaeometric Evidences from the Island of Capri

Obsidian was extensively traded during the Neolithic for the realization of tools and instruments. The first obsidian artefacts were found in Southern Italy in Mesolithic and Early Neolithic sites. There are rich and important obsidian sources in Thyrrhenian area, like Palmarola, Lipari and Sardinia. The determination of trace-elements in obsidian artefacts in order to establish their place of origin gave in the past important results. Methods like optical spectroscopy and neutron activation analyses were largely applied. To-day the development of non-destructive techniques, like X-ray fluorescence allowed to obtain significant results without damaging archaeological materials on the obsidians from Capri. The island of Capri, in the Gulf of Naples, represented a focal point for the maritime routes in the trades of obsidian accross the Thyrrhenian sea. Numerous evidences of obsidian were spread in the island, where it was found in the past the largest number obsidian artifacts in Southern Italy and one of the few obsidian working places in the central Mediterranean. New researches were now carried out at Capri, with a systematic project of field survey and with the re-examination of the prehistoric finds preserved in the museums of Naples and Capri. A large number of Neolithic sites were identified and they allowed a better understanding of the settlement strategy in the island. The new archaeometric, non destructive analyses on the obsidian artefacts from Capri contributed to improve our knowledge of the prehistoric trades in southern Thyrrhenian sea.

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Dr. Paul Halstead, Farming and feasting in the Neolithic of Greece: the ecological context of fighting with food

Recent interdisciplinary research at LN Makriyalos, provides strong evidence for collective food consumption on a massive scale. Less fine-grained faunal data from other Neolithic sites in Greece suggests that this is just an extreme example of widespread consumption at a supra-household level. Studies of recent (trans)egalitarian agricultural societies suggest that, in the Neolithic of Greece, feasting may have played an important role in mobilising labour, promoting social cohesion and forging alliances, but also in social competition - fighting with food. It has also been noted by Hayden and others that feasting is predicated on the existence of surplus, and thus on the practice of storage and recognition of private property. This paper seeks to develop this theme in two ways: (1) by exploring ways in which feasting is not only enabled, but also strongly promoted, by storage, delayed-return food production and sedentism; and (2) by examining the particular significance of domestic animals and meat consumption in surplus accumulation and feasting respectively.

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Dr. Mary Jackes, Is there evidence in Portugal of a Mesolithic/Neolithic demographic transition?

Newly re-discovered dental material from the mid-twentieth century excavations by Roche and Veiga-Ferreira at Cabeço do Arruda, Muge, Portugal was recorded photographically in 2001 by D. Lubell and has been examined in the context of the detailed analyses and photographic records previously undertaken on Arruda material by M. Jackes and C. Meiklejohn. Muge sites are now being re-investigated by J. Rol?o (Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa). The newly re-discovered material (which had been placed in storage 40 years ago and forgotten) allows us to re-examine the demography of late Mesolithic/early Neolithic Iberia based on the primary burials in Mesolithic middens and the disarticulated skeletons in the early Neolithic ossuary cave of Casa da Moura. The need for a very specific approach to demography based on calculation of the minimum number of individuals from dentitions is outlined. Results are interpreted within the context of a large and diverse comparative data base, and recent work by Bocquet-Appel on the Neolithic demographic transition in Europe.

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Dr. Kjel Knutsson, Stone Age Transitions. The Neolithization in Central Scandinavia

The paper is a summary of the Uppsala part of a series of individual research projects in connection with a joint research program, "Coast to Coast - Stone Age Societies in change", carried out as collaboration between the Departments of archaeology in Uppsala, Goeteborg, Lund and Stockholm. It covers the cultural development in Central Scandinavia in the early part of the Holocene, from the deglaciation (8000 cal BC) to the Late Neolithic (1800 cal BC). The historical substrate, the socio/spatial structures of hunter gatherer groups in the area, decisive for the character of the neolithization is discussed in terms of marriage networks between different exogamous bands and the development of a lineage-based society. Other themes taken up in the project is changes in relation to hunter gatherer social ideologies, the importance of history in cultural reproduction and change, the reuse of the past, social tensions and gender structures as expressed in the built environment, material culture as vehicles for power struggles and craft specialization in stratified societies. The paper ends with a critical evaluation of archaeology. The search for origins lures us to see what needs to be seen in prehistory. It is stated that the past has always been returned to and made active in socio-political processes; the modern world we live in is no exception.

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Dr. Eva Lenneis, First indications for regional differences within the earliest LPC and long distance contacts - a possible key to the neolithization process in East Central - Europe

The consequence of more field work upon the earliest LPC in Central Europe within the last two decades was also a dramatically increasing knowledge of the ceramics. As there are only few main forms and a small variability of the motives one got the impression of a uniform ceramic over very big areas. This partly was due to the small inventories known. Big new inventories from large-scale excavations show a lot of differences as in the variations of some motives as in the decoration technique. The distribution pattern of this attributes is very interesting and may give first indications of regional groups, their roots might be in the Mesolithic basis. New investigations on flint raw materials show a rather complex communication network in East Central Europe from Mesolithic on. In many cases it is not clear what kind of goods were the equivalents of the high quality flints. These equivalents could have been some perishable materials, we never will know, but also non-flint stone artefacts, graphite, salt or other. I will present the idea of an intended investigation project on that subject. The paths of the exchange of all these goods might give us an idea about the communication of farmers and hunter / gatherers in the early 6 th millennium BC. I suppose that this exchange network was the principal way Mesolithic people in East Central Europe got the knowledge of farming and developed with it a new lifestyle, known to us as LBK - culture.

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Dr. David Lubell, Are land snails a signature for the transition to the Neolithic in the circum-Mediterranean?

Edible land snails are often abundant in late Pleistocene and early Holocene archaeological deposits in the circum-Mediterranean. While the most spectacular examples are the Capsian escargoti?res of the Maghreb, pene-contemporaneous sites with abundant land snail shells are known from Cantabria, the Pyrenees, southern France, Italy, the Balkans, the Aegean, Cyprus, the Levant, the Zagros, the Caspian and Cyrenaica. Is this pattern a signature of the "broad spectrum revolution"? Fernández-Armesto in Near a Thousand Tables: a History of Food (2002: 56-7) says that land snails "represent the key and perhaps the solution to one of the greatest mysteries?why and how did the human animal begin to herd and breed other animals for food?" He goes on to argue that "snails are relatively easy to cultivate [and] readily managed?can be raised in abundance and herded without the use of fire, without any special equipment, without personal danger and without the need to select and train lead animals or dogs to help?[and that] they are close to being a complete food." This paper will briefly review the occurrence of land snails in late Pleistocene and early Holocene sites in the circum-Mediterranean, provide data on the nutritional value, biology and ecology of the land snail species found, and attempt to decide whether or not Fernández-Armesto's hypothesis should be accepted or rejected.

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Dimitrij Mlekuz, The lesson of the sheep: From hunting to herding on the east Adriatic coast

Herding was traditional subsistence practice on the east Adriatic coast which took form in variety of transhumant practices. Its ubiquity lured many researches to postulate existence of similar practices even in the early Neolithic. Historic and ethnographic data was often used as direct analogy or illustration of Neolithic subsistence strategies. In this presentation I tackle the problem of early herding practices by taking opposite route and different perspective. I am going to discuss some theoretical implications of introduction of sheep and goats in the hunter-fisher-gatherers communities on east Adriatic coast and confront them with evidence. Questions I am particularly interested in are: When were sheep and goats introduced? Where they came from? How were they integrated into hunter-fisher-gatherer communities? How did the 'agency' of sheep transform those communities? What were ecological consequences of adoption of sheep and goats? And finally, by taking perspective of sheep and goats, alternative story of 'the process of neolithisation' of east Adriatic can be written.

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Dr. Luiz Oosterbeek, Archaeographic and Conceptual advances in interpreting Iberian Neolithization

Prehistoric research has evolved, in the last decade, from a mere collaboration of disciplines into a new, trans-disciplinary, approach to Prehistoric contexts. New stable research teams, involving researchers with various scientific backgrounds (geology, botanic, anthropology, history, mathematics, geography, etc.) working together, have learned their diversified "vocabularies" and methodologies. As a main result, a more holistic approach to Prehistory is to be considered. Previous models on the Neolithic of the Atlantic side of Iberia were focused on material culture and strict economics (this being an important improvement concerning previous typological series). Current research became open to discuss the meaning of concepts like "food production", "chiefdom" or "territory". It also dropped the "Portuguese/Spanish" frontier, that pervaded previous models (to the limited exception of some interpretations for megaliths. Finally, new and important data is now confirming that the "Cardial Neolithic" coastal spread was only one, and a minor, element in the Neolithization of the western seaboard.

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Dr. Onur Ozbek, Recent results on the polished stone tools from the Neolithic site hf Hocaçesme (eastern Thrace)

The prehistoric ground stone implements (ground-edge axes, adzes, chisels) found in Hocaçesme Neolithic site (N 40°42' E 026°07-08') provide us information about their typology, technology and provenance for the raw material. The paper concentrates mainly on the recent assessment of these tools, which were important in daily life of the prehistoric Hocacesme habitants between 6700-4000 BC. The raw material sources for different types of rocks used in Hocaçesme, the relation between the other sites in Eastern Thrace and Marmara region and some models for the paleo- environment are discussed briefly.

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Dr. Slavisa Peric & Dr. Dubravka Nikolic, The question of stratigraphical position and cultural characteristics of Lepenski Vir pottery

In several different attempts to explain the Mesolithic/Neolithic transition in the Danube Gorge, the sequence of the Lepenski Vir site has a significant role. Remarkable architectural achievements and expressive monumental sculpture confirm a long period of cultural stability, complex social organization and developed religious beliefs. Nevertheless, a great number of pottery sherds excavated at the site remained unpublished. Since the unexplored field documentation is sufficiently detailed to facilitate improved understanding of stratigraphy and relative position of the pottery in relation to architectural remains, the aim of this paper is to present the first results obtained from the analyses of the pottery assemblage at the site.

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Dr. Martin Richards, Pioneers or steamrollers: Interpreting the genetic evidence for the spread of the Neolithic

Holocene expansions have been successfully demonstrated using both mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome variation in the Pacific and Africa. However, for Europe the genetic evidence has been more difficult to interpret. This has led to continuing controversy between geneticists who argue for a pioneer model of Near Eastern immigration and others who argue for large-scale demic diffusion. The debate over the interpretation of genetic evidence from living individuals has become rather technical, but results to a large extent on philosophical differences of approach to the analysis of modern genetic data. This paper will attempt to guide the uninitiated through this controversy, and also to assess the prospects for resolving the difficulties by making use of ancient DNA.

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Dr. Lars Sundström, A Collective in Peril. The Process of Neolitisation from an Eastern Central Swedish Perspective

A necessary point of departure for understanding the implications and incorporation of domesticates in prehistoric society, i.e. emergence of Funnel Beaker Culture in Sweden, is a general discussion of social mechanisms in hunter-gatherer societies on one hand and peoples reactions to changes threatening the social ideology, on the other. The social ideology of hunting and gathering societies can be understood as uphold by different social institutions that are all dependent on geographical and social mobility. The discussion on social reactions to change is based on four case studies. By combining these perspectives it is possible to discuss the materiality of the early Neolithic as an externalised and idealised social ideology with historical roots.

The case studies clearly indicate that the reaction involved the lifting up of blurred and semiconscious structures to a conscious, ideological level. Inherent in this awareness process has been an active use of material culture, both in the production of symbols and in communication. The most important argument for stating that the Neolithisation must have meant a clear break with the earlier existence is the observation of abandonment of mobile way of life, both geographically and socially. This abandonment resulted in reactionary processes, which involved material culture. Thus the material culture of the Funnel-Beaker period can be perceived as instruments of reproduction of a historically well-anchored egalitarian ideology. In the dispersed settlement system of autonomous individual farmsteads the collective aggregation sites are given a focal role of the discussion of social reproduction.

The social mechanisms of the Early Neolithic society of Eastern Central Sweden are investigated on local settlement level by an analysis of the use and production of axes in locally available raw material. This study involves a petrological investigation showing a system of local management in relation to raw material extraction, production and consumption. This system is considered as one way of upholding the social ideology historically situated in the life style of hunters and gatherers.

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Dr. Michel Louis Séfériadés, An aspect of the Neolithization in Mongolia : the Mesolithic / Neolithic site of Tamsagbulag (Dornod district)

The French Archaeological Expedition for the Neolithic in Mongolia (FAENM) conducted by the author was created in 1997 with the intention, as its first project, of undertaking remote sensing investigations and fieldwork at Tamsagbulag (Dornod District). Despite only brief and superficial publications relating to former soviet excavations directed by A. P. Okladnikov, it appeared that the site was a key Mesolithic/Neolithic site in Central Asia, taking in account the early results of excavations as well as two relatively recent short synthesis by A. P. Derevyanko and D. Dorj (1992) and A. P. Derevyanko (1994). Tamsagbulag lies in the desert steppe region not far from Chinese border. It forms part of a lake which today is almost completely dry, 1-2 km wide between the high south terraces (Tamsagbulag 1) and lower north terraces (Tamsagbulag 2). It is the type site for the Tamsagbulag culture (5th millennium BC). The occupants were both sedentary hunter fisher-gatherers and farmers. Semi-subterranean quadrangular houses without side doors have been found. Individual burials (seated flexed and with the head facing east or west) occur under the floor. Grave goods include necklaces (red deer), mother of pearl and lapis-lazuli jewellery, bone points, sickles, etc... Stone tool assemblages (microlithic and polished) are rich. They consist of flint, jasper, tufa, chalcedony, quartz and obsidian, and are specific to the area and site, with Tamsagbulag nuclei reused as tools, tamsagbulag scarpers and bifacially retouched arrowheads. Among the polished stone are hammers, adzes, querns and pestles, etc? Pottery is attested. Paleobotanical and faunal samples (millet, cattle, horse, etc.) are preserved, as is the bone industry. The first project of the French expedition proposed to (1) establish the importance of the site, its preservation and extent of as yet unexcavated areas, (2) place the site within its modern and early Holocene geomorphological and environmental contexts, and (3) garner information on the process of neolithisation of eastern Mongolia, the subsistence and social system of the hunter-gatherers and farmers of the Dornod region which are not unlike those from the opposite end of continent (Starcevo-Körös-Cris)

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Dr. Dimas Martín Socas, La Cueva de el toro (Antequera, Málaga). A Neolithic stockbreeding community in the Andalusian region.

The occupation evidence shown by the cave El Toro, is that of a unique stockbreeding community in the Andalusian region. The calibrated dates for this occupation period go from the second quarter of the sixth millennium up to the second millennium. BP. There is also evidence of occasional occupation throughout later millennia up to the Hispano-Muslim period. The nature of this occupation is determined by the close link between the cave and the community which occupied it, both continuously and periodically. Throughout the occupation levels, the community's skillful control of technical processes and its remarkable knowledge on how to transform local primary resources, have shown that this community reached a high level of technological development. However, its main economic activity was related to agricultural and farming exploitation, particularly to stockbreeding.

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Dr. Peter Stadler, Settlement from the Early Linear Ceramics Culture at Brunn am Gebirge, site Wolfholz.Transition from Late Starcevo Culture to Early Linear Ceramics or local development?

Between 1989 and 1999 at Brunn am Gebirge, Lower Austria, at the southern border of Vienna, parts of a big early Neolithic settlement could be prospected and excavated. The terrain is flat and has a slight rise in the direction to the Northeast. The remains of longhouses found belong to different separated groups, which were called site I-V. 64 longhouses are known by now, most of them by excavation, some of them only after their destruction by trenches and a big part by magnetic prospection. But as not the whole area has been prospected a total number of 100 houses can be expected. The excavated area is about 100.000 m2. The houses are usually oriented South-North with deviations to the West and also to the East at different sites. Their dimensions are 20m length and 7-8m broadth. There are different constructions visible, mainly in the better preserved part of site III. If these differences are functional or chronological is still under investigation. Currently we see the absolute time frame between 5550-5200 BC for the whole settlement. The oldest part of the settlement may be localized in site IIa, then followed by IIb, III, V, IV and I. In the oldest parts Linear Ceramics is missing, the rough ceramics is burnt at lower temperatures and has no or at least only plastical ornaments. This kind of ceramics is very similar to that from excavations in southern Hungary, attributed to the Late Star?evo Culture. From sites III going the rise upwards to the younger parts of the settlement Linear Ceramics is increasing. Parallel runs the increasing use of fine ceramics besides the coarse one. On the other hand the number of idols found is decreasing. Also for the stone implements a development is visible in the same direction from the oldest site II to the youngest site I. Of special interest is that we found very many stone implements, more than 10.000, which is very much in contrast to other Austrian sites. At the beginning the main raw material is coming from Bakony-Szentgál, near lake Balaton in Hungary. Local "Hornstein" is used very seldom. This percentages are changing continuously from old to young. At the end of the development in site I, we have only a small number of local lithic material. Animal bones are not preserved in a big number at site II. But we can also see a development in the usage of animals in the course of time. In site III it seems that capra-ovis bones are dominating and in the youngest site I bovis is preferred. So we see there is a big change in the course of time. The most interesting question is now: Did the settlers come from southern Hungary or is there a local change from Mesolithic population to the first farmers under the influences from the south? As we currently have almost no knowledge about Mesolithic sites in Lower Austria, we tend currently to the first solution, that settler immigrated from Southern Hungary and formed here at Brunn am Gebirge one basis for the development of the Linear Ceramics culture.

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Dr. Laurens C. Thissen, The Role of Pottery in Agropastoralist Communities in Early Neolithic Romania

Possible causes as to the adoption of pottery are considered for early neolithic communities in the Lower Danube Plain, Romania. Assessment of cooking pots used for stone boiling may fit in with pre-neolithic food processing patterns, and blur traditional Mesolithic-Neolithic boundaries. Simultaneously, adoption of new tools reflecting changing life-styles and subsistence patterns afford glimpses into the choices, tensions and decisions assumed to have existed in a society in flux.

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Dr. Vladimir I. Timofeev, On the problem of Eastern Europe Neolithization

The Neolithization of Eastern Europe was considered as a kind of secondary phenomenon if to compare with the process in other parts of the continent. The situation changed in the last decades. The Radiocarbon data, reached in the area in question later then in Central and Southern Europe, show the stages of the first Neolithic elements appearance: 8500 - 8000 BP ( uncal ) - the earliest pottery ( Elshan type ) in the Forest-Steppe zone; not later then 8000 - 7500 BP ( uncal ) are dated the assemblages with evidences of domestication in Steppe- and Forest-steppe zones; 7300 - 7000 BP ( uncal ) - the First pottery in the Forest zone ( Upper Volgian Early Neolithic ); 6600 - 6400 BP ( uncal ) - the Early Neolithic in NW Russia, Baltic and adjacent areas. The First pottery cultures materials in the main part of the Forest zone indicate the process of their formation as consisted of the components of different origin, the aboriginal ones, connected with the local Mesolithic and the other ones, with roots which could be retraced in more Southern areas and appeared the most probably as the result of Diffusion.

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Dr. Julian Thomas, Current arguments over the beginning of the Neolithic in Britain

Current arguments over the beginning of the Neolithic in Britain revolve around a series of issues: indigenous adoption versus population movement; the evidence for material culture change versus that for the adoption of domesticated species; homogeneity versus regional diversity; the ambiguity of dietary evidence; patterns of residence and settlement; the pace and duration of change; the degree of distinctiveness of the British situation in the broader European context. These questions are given a different complexion and different degrees of prominence according to the conceptual schemes employed by different groups of archaeologists. In this contribution, I will address some of the most recent developments, and consider whether the seemingly contradictory aspects of evidence and arguments can be reconciled.

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Prof. Xiaohong Wu & Prof. Chaohong Zhao, Some problems related to the Neolithization in China

The appearance of pottery, origin of agriculture and the existing of polished lithics are considered as marks of the beginning of Neolithic in China. The current discoveries and radiocarbon dates show that the appearance of pottery and the existing of polished lithics are much earlier than the origin of agriculture. The South China and North China have different patterns in the process of Neolithization. It is not only one model should be applied to interpret the transition from the Paleolithic to Neolithic in China.

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Dr. Zsuzsanna K. Zoffman, The Prehistoric Populations of the Carpathian Basin According to the Anthropological Evaluations

The present paper is giving an anthropological sketch of the Prehistoric populations that lived in the Carpathian Basin during the Neolithic, Copper, Bronze and Iron Ages. Grouping the finds according to the archaeological cultures and based on taxonomic but mainly on biostatistical analysis made by the author (distance analysis by Penrose) the results of such an evaluation are indicating a possible biological continuity of the autochtonous populations during the concerning Prehistorical periods.

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Dr. Marek Zvelebil, Homo Habitus: Structure, Agency and the passage of traditions in the transition to farming in central and northern Europe

In my contribution, I attempt to use the concepts of structure and agency to elucidate at a regional scale the process of transition from hunting-gathering to farming, and from Mesolithic communities of the North European Plain to the Neolithic. I examine this cultural and economic transformation in the area of present-day northern Poland and Lithuania. I argue that the theory of structuration, judiciously applied to archaeological evidence, can offer new insights and understanding of both, the process of the transition itself, and the motivation behind the culture change.

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Prof. Yu Xiyun, The Beginning of Chinese Civilization

The Xiyin Culture (4000-3000 B.C. ) was originated at the juncture area of Shaanxi, Shanxi and Henan Provinces. In its great prosperity the Xiyin culture spread to large area of central China. Its influence eastward crossed Bohai sea, southward reached banks of Yangtze River and northern side of Yanshan Mountains. It finally established territorial base of China before Qin Dynasty (221-206 B.C.). In its expanding process, the Xiyin Culture shaked inherent cultural frame and made regrouping and melting of a good many populations. Initiated by flowery colourful drawing of  pottery the origination of a large group of Huaxia People was formed. In the period of Xiyin Culture, the traditional of family model had gone to disintegrate, hierarchical social structure had been gradually appeared, and the mentality of private ownership had come into being. All these status composed of the beginning of Chinese civilization.

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Prof. Yu Huili, Archeological Research on the Upper Paleolithic Site of Shenquan in Heilongjiang Province, Northeast China

In the Nenjiang valley of Western Region of Heilongjiang Province in July-September of 2002, from an initiated excavation at Upper paleolithic site of Shenquan more than three thousands of stone artifacts were discovered in the area of 1500 sq meters. These materials provide new evidence for understanding occurrence and develepment of microlithic culture in Northeast China and the issue on transitional period from Upper Paleolithic to Neolithic.

archaeology neolithic seminars 10th seminar


Oddelek za arheologijo 2003