Model of the mode, tempo, and demography of the Neolithic expansion in Greece and Bulgaria from the Levant, using archaeological and bioarchaeological data
This project is using archaeological, palaeoanthropological and palaeogenetic data from Neolithic humans, animals and cultigens to trace the expansion of Neolithic settlements westward from the Levant to Greece and Bulgaria. More specifically, we plan to create a database-informed demographic reconstruction of the populations of key settlements along the expansion corridor by estimating the space-time densities of radiocarbon-dated Mesolithic and Neolithic sites in the region, analysing the age distributions and stature markers present in cemeteries to understand population dynamics, plotting the phylogeographic distribution of cultural artefacts, and incorporating biological data on humans and their domesticates to infer population structure. Our goal is to estimate the timing and expansion rate of the movement of the Neolithic into Greece and Bulgaria, and to describe the demographic parameters of the populations involved. We also plan to investigate whether the demographic, biological, and cultural characteristics of this population expansion can be correlated with the 8,200 calBP Holocene cooling event. By analogy with the genetic drift model, we plan to investigate whether the modes of colonization from the core area of the Levant toward Greece and Bulgaria (demic, leapfrog of clan, sub-clan, family, individuals) can be inferred using these data.