Colonization Dynamics of LBK Farmers in Europe under Geostatistics Test
Keywords:Neolithic, LBK, Europe, colonization, geo-environment, settlement dynamics
Exploiting a database developed during a previous research project, this study uses factor analyses, GIS techniques and basic geostatistics to evaluate in detail the agro-ecological determinants of the first Neolithic diffusion in continental temperate Europe (the Linearbandkeramik or LBK), as well as its underlying settlement dynamics around half a millennium (5550–4925 BCE). More than 6600 LBK site locations, spread from Moldavia to Normandy, are initially assessed for their informative coherence and ability to offer a unified perspective on the evidence established at more local and regional levels. Most of these data can be used to define the broad geo-pedological options involved in the location of sites across Europe; loess substrate was far from being an exclusive settlement choice and a variety of soils, typically of medium moisture, were exploited. LBK farmers thus had a great capacity to adapt to the different geographical contexts they encountered. With regard to settlement dynamics in Central and Western Europe, the data reveal a systemic interplay between creation, stability and abandonment of sites, supporting the diffusion of the LBK subsistence system. The progressive decline in the number of new sites was compensated by an increase in their stability until the last stage of the expansion process. At this point, abandonments became widespread without significant renewal, except in the westernmost regions. The easternmost parts of Europe could not be integrated in the large-scale temporal modelling, since the chronological data available in the database are insufficiently precise. Shedding new light on the systemic variability of the geo-environmental options followed by these early farmers and highlighting some modalities and spatial-temporal limits of the resilience of their agro-sylvo-pastoral system, our overall analysis confirms and somewhat clarifies current interpretations of the LBK phenomenon.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Robin Brigand, Jérôme Dubouloz, Olivier Weller
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