Euroevol
Ground stone axes
Wheat
Grimes

Background

The aim of the EUROEVOL project is to provide the basis for a new account of the role of farming in transforming early European societies, c.6000-2000 cal BCE. Our focus is on the western half of temperate Europe, where the available data are best, and integrating culture historical patterns, for example in monuments, with demographic, economic and social processes. 

Research Questions

  1. How did regional population patterns change c.6000-2000 cal BCE?
  2. What are the links between subsistence, climate change and social institutions, on the one hand, and population patterns on the other? Do the population patterns reflect periods of economic growth and decline?
  3. To what extent were population fluctuations the main source of cultural change? 
  4. What links are there between cultural patterns in space, for example monumental and ceramic traditions, and the nature and extent of social interaction?
  5. Is it possible to identify the existence of long-standing cultural ‘cores’ subject to ‘descent with modification’ in different times and places, or is a model of different distinct cultural ‘packages’ more appropriate?

Methods

Achieving these objectives requires the creation of specific attribute datasets that have complex spatial and temporal properties. All spatial and chronological data will be managed using standard GIS packages and relational databases. Analytical methods include both standard statistical technique, and more recent advances in Maximum-Likelihood estimation, phylogenetic inference, and agent-based modelling. The standardised, spatially-referenced datasets produced by the project will also be of lasting value given the difficulty otherwise in exploring large spatial and temporal questions with the fragmented data which has resulted from the regional, usually national, investigation practices and priorities.

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