Tracing genes and culture through the Neolithic
The researcher in this project is using genetic and cultural data to test a range of different hypotheses on the spread of Neolithic people and lifeways from the Near East to Europe around 7,000 years ago. Genetic data will include both ancient and modern human DNA, and cultural data will include information on the frequencies of different pottery and other artefact styles through time. Genetic variation will be analysed using serial coalescent approaches, which allows the incorporation of ancient DNA data from different time periods with modern genetic data. The distribution of culturally inherited traits through time will be studied using a newly developed neutral model. In addition to looking at changes in the frequencies of specific artefact types through time, we will also consider archaeological proxies for overall accumulation of cultural complexity using the cultural transmission model described by Powell et al (2009). The model produced in this project will incorporate genetic and cultural data generated by other BEAN researchers, and the predictions of the model will be used to test the strength of the correlation between the genetic and material culture correlates of the Neolithic expansion.