Spatial and Chronological Patterns in the Neolithisation of Europe

James Steele, Stephen J. Shennan, 2000

Data copyright © Dr James Steele, Prof Stephen J. Shennan unless otherwise stated

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Prof Stephen J. Shennan
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James Steele, Stephen J. Shennan (2000) Spatial and Chronological Patterns in the Neolithisation of Europe [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor]

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The nature of the processes by which the economic and cultural elements commonly characterised as 'neolithic' spread across Europe in the period following 7000 BC has been much debated in recent years. In order to distinguish the various processes responsible, it is necessary to identify those elements which are present in each area and to date them accurately, not least in relation to the latest dates for the local Mesolithic. Although the broad outlines are known, there were no recent attempts to gather dating evidence from across Europe to a uniform standard and to analyse it using modern methods of statistical and spatial analysis.

The aim of the funded project was to compile an electronic spatial database of radiocarbon dates for the later Mesolithic and early Neolithic of Europe, roughly 9000-5000 BP; this time frame covers the range from the later Mesolithic in southeast Europe to the earlier Neolithic in northern and northwest Europe. In addition information was collected about the contexts of the dates, the material dated and economic and cultural associations. Europe was defined as the area to the west of a line from the Black Sea to the eastern Baltic.

The information is now being analyzed using GIS techniques to characterise the processes involved in the spread of the 'neolithic'.