Demic and cultural diffusion propagated the Neolithic transition across different regions of Europe

The Neolithic transition is the shift from hunting-gathering into farming. About 9000 years ago, the Neolithic transition began to spread from the Near East into Europe, until it reached Northern Europe about 5500 years ago. There are two main models of this spread. The demic model assumes that it was mainly due to the reproduction and dispersal of farmers. The cultural model assumes that European hunter-gatherers become farmers by acquiring domestic plants and animals, aswell as knowledge, from neighbouring farmers. Here we use the dates of about 900 archaeological sites to compute a speed map of the spread of the Neolithic transition in Europe. We compare the speed map to the speed ranges predicted by purely demic, demic-cultural and purely cultural models. The comparison indicates that the transition was cultural in Northern Europe, the Alpine region and west of the Black Sea. But demic diffusion was at work in other regions such as the Balkans and Central Europe. Our models can be applied to many other cultural traits. We also propose that genetic data could be gathered and used to measure the demic kernels of Early Neolithic populations. This would lead to an enormous advance in Neolithic spread modellin ​
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