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The First Farmers of Europe
An Evolutionary Perspective

$34.99 (P)

Part of Cambridge World Archaeology

  • Date Published: May 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108435215

$ 34.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • Knowledge of the origin and spread of farming has been revolutionised in recent years by the application of new scientific techniques, especially the analysis of ancient DNA from human genomes. In this book, Stephen Shennan presents the latest research on the spread of farming by archaeologists, geneticists and other archaeological scientists. He shows that it resulted from a population expansion from present-day Turkey. Using ideas from the disciplines of human behavioural ecology and cultural evolution, he explains how this process took place. The expansion was not the result of 'population pressure' but of the opportunities for increased fertility by colonising new regions that farming offered. The knowledge and resources for the farming 'niche' were passed on from parents to their children. However, Shennan demonstrates that the demographic patterns associated with the spread of farming resulted in population booms and busts, not continuous expansion.

    • The first book to synthesise new ancient DNA results revolutionising our understanding of the spread of farming
    • Provides a coherent account of the processes involved in the spread of farming
    • The account is framed in terms of new ideas from the fields of human behavioural ecology and cultural evolution
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Shennan's book is likely to become an important text for scholars concerned with the archeology of Europe and the Neolithic generally, as well as a wider readership interested in a key transition in human history. A grand narrative indeed.' Evolutionary Anthropology

    'Adding to his major body of work on cultural evolution, quantitative archaeology, and Neolithic Europe, Stephen Shennan offers a concise yet richly detailed overview of the emergence and spread of agriculture across Europe using a multifaceted perspective informed by diverse archaeological approaches.' Selin E. Nugent, Cliodynamics: The Journal of Quantitative History and Cultural Evolution

    “It is undoubtedly a must-read for those interested in the “Neolithic Revolution” in general and the Neolithic in Europe in particular” --Rezensionen

    'Overall, this book offers a remarkable wealth of updated information which is well-articulated in a coherent explanation that will surely stimulate new research about the Neolithic in Europe and the Near East.' Juan José Ibáñez, European Journal of Archaeology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108435215
    • length: 266 pages
    • dimensions: 254 x 177 x 11 mm
    • weight: 0.56kg
    • contains: 54 b/w illus. 26 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: population, resources and life histories
    2. The origins of agriculture in Southwest Asia
    3. The first westward expansion of farming
    4. The spread of farming into Central Europe
    5. Maritime expansion in the Central and West Mediterranean
    6. Continental temperate Europe 7000–5500 BP: internal expansion and adaptation
    7. First farmers in southern Scandinavia
    8. The farming colonisation of Britain and Ireland
    9. Conclusion: evolutionary patterns and processes.

  • Author

    Stephen Shennan, University College London
    Stephen Shennan is Professor of Theoretical Archaeology at the University College London Institute of Archaeology, where he was Director 2005-2014. His main interest is explaining stability and change in prehistory in the light of evolutionary ideas. He has published over 120 papers and books, including Quantifying Archaeology (2nd edition, 1997), Genes, Memes and Human History (2002), and Pattern and Process in Cultural Evolution (edited, 2009). He is a Fellow of the British Academy and a member of the Academia Europaea. He received the Rivers Medal of the Royal Anthropological Institute in 2010 and a Shanghai Archaeological Forum Research Award for his EUROEVOL project in 2015.

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