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Populations headed south? The Gravettian from a palaeodemographic point of view

  • Andreas Maier (a1) and Andreas Zimmermann (a2)

The Gravettian is known for its technological innovations and artisanal craftwork. At the same time, continued climatic deterioration led to the coldest and driest conditions since the arrival of Homo sapiens sapiens in Europe. This article examines the palaeodemographic development and provides regionally differentiated estimates for both the densities and the absolute numbers of people. A dramatic population decline characterises the later part of the Gravettian, while the following Last Glacial Maximum experienced consolidation and renewed growth. The results suggest that the abandonment of the northern areas was not a result of migration processes, but of local population extinctions, coinciding with a loss of typological and technological complexity. Extensive networks probably assured the maintenance of a viable population.

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