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Palaeolithic Populations and Waves of Advance

  • Joaquim Fort (a1), Toni Pujol (a1) and Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 June 2004

The wave-of-advance model has been previously applied to Neolithic human range expansions, yielding good agreement to the speeds inferred from archaeological data. Here, we apply it for the first time to Palaeolithic human expansions by using reproduction and mobility parameters appropriate to hunter-gatherers (instead of the corresponding values for preindustrial farmers). The order of magnitude of the predicted speed is in agreement with that implied by the AMS radiocarbon dating of the lateglacial human recolonization of northern Europe (14.2–12.5 kyr bp). We argue that this makes it implausible for climate change to have limited the speed of the recolonization front. It is pointed out that a similar value for the speed can be tentatively inferred from the archaeological data on the expansion of modern humans into the Levant and Europe (42–36 kyr bp).

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Cambridge Archaeological Journal
  • ISSN: 0959-7743
  • EISSN: 1474-0540
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