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Palaeolithic Europe
A Demographic and Social Prehistory


Part of Cambridge World Archaeology

  • Date Published: September 2023
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108710060

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About the Authors
  • In this book, Jennifer French presents a new synthesis of the archaeological, palaeoanthropological, and palaeogenetic records of the European Palaeolithic, adopting a unique demographic perspective on these first two-million years of European prehistory. Unlike prevailing narratives of demographic stasis, she emphasises the dynamism of Palaeolithic populations of both our evolutionary ancestors and members of our own species across four demographic stages, within a context of substantial Pleistocene climatic changes. Integrating evolutionary theory with a socially oriented approach to the Palaeolithic, French bridges biological and cultural factors, with a focus on women and children as the drivers of population change. She shows how, within the physiological constraints on fertility and mortality, social relationships provide the key to enduring demographic success. Through its demographic focus, French combines a 'big picture' perspective on human evolution with careful analysis of the day-to-day realities of European Palaeolithic hunter-gatherer communities—their families, their children, and their lives.

    • Provides an up-to-date analysis and synthesis of the European Palaeolithic
    • Combines evolutionary theory with a gender-aware, socially oriented approach to the Palaeolithic archaeological record
    • Presents a unique demographic perspective on the European Palaeolithic based around four 'demographic stages'
    • Centres women and children in the discussion and analysis of the Palaeolithic
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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2023
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108710060
    • length: 350 pages
    • dimensions: 254 x 178 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.658kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Towards a Social Palaeodemography of Early Prehistory
    2. Stones, Bones, and Genes: A Palaeodemographic Database
    3. Hunter-Gatherer Demography
    4. Visitation: The First European Populations (~1.8 million-300,000 years ago)
    5. Residency: The Neanderthals and their Neighbours (~300,000-40,000 years ago)
    6. Expansion: The Arrival of Homo Sapiens and the Extinction of the Neanderthals (~50,000 years ago-35,000 years ago)
    7. Intensification: Mid-to-Late Upper Palaeolithic Population Dynamics (~35,000 years ago-15,000 years ago)
    8. Palaeolithic Europe: Demography and Society.

  • Author

    Jennifer C. French, University of Liverpool
    Jennifer C. French holds a PhD in Archaeology from the University of Cambridge. Her research on humanity's early demographic history has been funded by the AHRC, the Leverhulme Trust and the Wenner-Gren Foundation and published in Science, Evolutionary Anthropology, Journal of Archaeological Science, and Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.

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