The Neolithic Demographic Transition and its Consequences by Jean-Pierre Bocquet-Appel, Ofer Bar-Yosef

By Jean-Pierre Bocquet-Appel, Ofer Bar-Yosef

Using cemetery info, it's been attainable to spot the signature of a formerly unknown demographic method linked to the transition from a hunter-gatherer to an agricultural financial system. characterised by way of a dramatic bring up within the beginning expense, and hence of the inhabitants development expense, over a interval of under a millennium following the transition to agriculture, this international demographic method has been termed the Neolithic Demographic Transition (NDT). The NDT signature has thus far been detected in Europe, North the USA, Mesoamerica and South America.

The methodological innovation which has made attainable the identity of the NDT is using a relative chronology, mounted to the neighborhood onset of the Neolithic. that's, occasions are thought of no longer by way of their absolute calendar dates, yet really by way of their relation to the neighborhood date of the transition to agriculture. This quantity provides and discusses the implications and implications of the NDT on a world scale. themes include:

  • The factors of the NDT at its onset;
  • Indicators of financial intensification as relating to the NDT;
  • Settlement and village practices linked to the velocity of the NDT;
  • The emergence of social practices linked to better inhabitants concentrations;
  • The results of elevated inhabitants density on human health.

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Unfortunately, the absence of large cemeteries during the Early Agricultural period in southern Arizona (San Pedro and Cienega phases) renders direct observation of an NDT signal here difficult, and both Diehl and Waters (2006) and Kohler and Glaude (this volume) downplay the role of maize farming prior to AD 200. However, we 22 P. Bellwood, M. Oxenham regard the Uto-Aztecan linguistic evidence (Hill 2001, 2002) and archaeological evidence from second millennium BC maize-bearing sites such as Cerro Jua˜naquena and Las Capas (Bellwood 2005: 172), the latter with irrigation and pit storage, as highly suggestive of a preceramic maize farmer movement at around 1500 BC, perhaps fuelled by an earlier NDT in Mesoamerica.

Renfrew, C. 2002. ‘The emerging synthesis’: the archaeogenetics of language/farming dispersals and other spread zones. In P. Bellwood and C. Renfrew eds, Examining the Farming/Language Dispersal Hypothesis, pp. 3–16. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research. Richards, M. et al. 2004. The archaeogenetics of the dispersals of the Bantu-speaking peoples. In M. , Traces of Ancestry, pp. 75–88. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research. , Boyd. R. and Bettinger, R. 2001.

These sites are all large Neolithic to Iron Age cemeteries in Vietnam and northeastern Thailand, with agricultural economies that included rice growing (this is contextually likely but still undemonstrated Man Bac), and with sample sizes large enough for statistical inference. Unfortunately, no pre-farming sites in Southeast Asia have skeletal assemblages sufficiently well recorded to be analyzed in this way. While there is variability, the majority of fertility measures for three of the four earliest assemblages point to elevated levels of fertility, particularly so for the Man Bac series from Vietnam.

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