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Tracing the origin and spread of agriculture in Europe.

Pinhasi R, Fort J, Ammerman AJ - PLoS Biol. (2005)

Bottom Line: The average rate of the Neolithic spread over Europe is 0.6-1.3 km/y (95% confidence interval).This is consistent with the prediction of demic diffusion (0.6-1.1 km/y).An interpolative map of correlation coefficients, obtained by using shortest-path distances, shows that the origins of agriculture were most likely to have occurred in the northern Levantine/Mesopotamian area.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Human and Life Sciences, Whitelands College, Roehampton University, London, United Kingdom. r.pinhasi@roehampton.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
The origins of early farming and its spread to Europe have been the subject of major interest for some time. The main controversy today is over the nature of the Neolithic transition in Europe: the extent to which the spread was, for the most part, indigenous and animated by imitation (cultural diffusion) or else was driven by an influx of dispersing populations (demic diffusion). We analyze the spatiotemporal dynamics of the transition using radiocarbon dates from 735 early Neolithic sites in Europe, the Near East, and Anatolia. We compute great-circle and shortest-path distances from each site to 35 possible agricultural centers of origin--ten are based on early sites in the Middle East and 25 are hypothetical locations set at 5 degrees latitude/longitude intervals. We perform a linear fit of distance versus age (and vice versa) for each center. For certain centers, high correlation coefficients (R > 0.8) are obtained. This implies that a steady rate or speed is a good overall approximation for this historical development. The average rate of the Neolithic spread over Europe is 0.6-1.3 km/y (95% confidence interval). This is consistent with the prediction of demic diffusion (0.6-1.1 km/y). An interpolative map of correlation coefficients, obtained by using shortest-path distances, shows that the origins of agriculture were most likely to have occurred in the northern Levantine/Mesopotamian area.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Interpolation Map of R-Values of HOAs (n = 765 Sites)Using great-circle distances (A) and shortest-path distances (B), these maps are based on uncalibrated dates and a slightly larger number of sites than those used in Figures 1 and 2 and Table 1. As a consistency test, the dataset now includes 30 Arabian sites. However, the results for the speed range are very similar to those obtained for the set of 735 sites. In addition, the use of calibrated dates does not lead to substantial changes in the maps (see the third and fourth figures in Protocol S1).
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pbio-0030410-g003: Interpolation Map of R-Values of HOAs (n = 765 Sites)Using great-circle distances (A) and shortest-path distances (B), these maps are based on uncalibrated dates and a slightly larger number of sites than those used in Figures 1 and 2 and Table 1. As a consistency test, the dataset now includes 30 Arabian sites. However, the results for the speed range are very similar to those obtained for the set of 735 sites. In addition, the use of calibrated dates does not lead to substantial changes in the maps (see the third and fourth figures in Protocol S1).

Mentions: Finally, we consider a larger sample by adding 30 sites in Arabia (see Materials and Methods). The results of the HOA regressions are given in Table 2. The spatial distribution of these R-values was examined using ArcMap 8.3. We interpolated R-values using ordinary kriging (see Materials and Methods). We also checked that other methods of spatial interpolation (such as the Inverse Distance Method [32]) yield almost the same results. The two maps obtained by spatial interpolation of the R-values in Table 2 are presented in Figure 3A and 3B. They show varying grades or clines that differ in their steepness and geographic extent. The lighter a grade, the less likely it is that agriculture originated in that region. The darkest area is that with the highest interpolated value of R (R > 0.811; the lower limit, R = 0.811, was chosen in such a way that different zones can be clearly distinguished in Figure 3A and 3B). Here, progressively lighter grades surround the darkest area in an approximately concentric fashion. Using great-circle distances (Figure3A), the area of highest R-values focuses upon the Levant, and yet it also includes the north-west part of the Arabian Peninsula and the northern part of the Nile Valley. In terms of current archaeological knowledge, the latter are less likely to be involved in the origins of agriculture. Interestingly, this subregion disappears when shortest-path distances are used in the analysis (Figure 3B). When the two maps are compared, the most likely area is found to be located more to the north in the shortest-path analysis (Figure 3B). This is, in all likelihood, the better of the two maps for tracing the origins of agriculture. Figure 3B thus provides quantitative support for the view that agriculture is most likely to have originated in the area that today includes north-east Syria, northern Mesopotamia, and part of south-east Turkey near the site of Çayönü. The use of calibrated dates yields similar results (Protocol S1).


Tracing the origin and spread of agriculture in Europe.

Pinhasi R, Fort J, Ammerman AJ - PLoS Biol. (2005)

Interpolation Map of R-Values of HOAs (n = 765 Sites)Using great-circle distances (A) and shortest-path distances (B), these maps are based on uncalibrated dates and a slightly larger number of sites than those used in Figures 1 and 2 and Table 1. As a consistency test, the dataset now includes 30 Arabian sites. However, the results for the speed range are very similar to those obtained for the set of 735 sites. In addition, the use of calibrated dates does not lead to substantial changes in the maps (see the third and fourth figures in Protocol S1).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC1287502&req=5

pbio-0030410-g003: Interpolation Map of R-Values of HOAs (n = 765 Sites)Using great-circle distances (A) and shortest-path distances (B), these maps are based on uncalibrated dates and a slightly larger number of sites than those used in Figures 1 and 2 and Table 1. As a consistency test, the dataset now includes 30 Arabian sites. However, the results for the speed range are very similar to those obtained for the set of 735 sites. In addition, the use of calibrated dates does not lead to substantial changes in the maps (see the third and fourth figures in Protocol S1).
Mentions: Finally, we consider a larger sample by adding 30 sites in Arabia (see Materials and Methods). The results of the HOA regressions are given in Table 2. The spatial distribution of these R-values was examined using ArcMap 8.3. We interpolated R-values using ordinary kriging (see Materials and Methods). We also checked that other methods of spatial interpolation (such as the Inverse Distance Method [32]) yield almost the same results. The two maps obtained by spatial interpolation of the R-values in Table 2 are presented in Figure 3A and 3B. They show varying grades or clines that differ in their steepness and geographic extent. The lighter a grade, the less likely it is that agriculture originated in that region. The darkest area is that with the highest interpolated value of R (R > 0.811; the lower limit, R = 0.811, was chosen in such a way that different zones can be clearly distinguished in Figure 3A and 3B). Here, progressively lighter grades surround the darkest area in an approximately concentric fashion. Using great-circle distances (Figure3A), the area of highest R-values focuses upon the Levant, and yet it also includes the north-west part of the Arabian Peninsula and the northern part of the Nile Valley. In terms of current archaeological knowledge, the latter are less likely to be involved in the origins of agriculture. Interestingly, this subregion disappears when shortest-path distances are used in the analysis (Figure 3B). When the two maps are compared, the most likely area is found to be located more to the north in the shortest-path analysis (Figure 3B). This is, in all likelihood, the better of the two maps for tracing the origins of agriculture. Figure 3B thus provides quantitative support for the view that agriculture is most likely to have originated in the area that today includes north-east Syria, northern Mesopotamia, and part of south-east Turkey near the site of Çayönü. The use of calibrated dates yields similar results (Protocol S1).

Bottom Line: The average rate of the Neolithic spread over Europe is 0.6-1.3 km/y (95% confidence interval).This is consistent with the prediction of demic diffusion (0.6-1.1 km/y).An interpolative map of correlation coefficients, obtained by using shortest-path distances, shows that the origins of agriculture were most likely to have occurred in the northern Levantine/Mesopotamian area.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Human and Life Sciences, Whitelands College, Roehampton University, London, United Kingdom. r.pinhasi@roehampton.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
The origins of early farming and its spread to Europe have been the subject of major interest for some time. The main controversy today is over the nature of the Neolithic transition in Europe: the extent to which the spread was, for the most part, indigenous and animated by imitation (cultural diffusion) or else was driven by an influx of dispersing populations (demic diffusion). We analyze the spatiotemporal dynamics of the transition using radiocarbon dates from 735 early Neolithic sites in Europe, the Near East, and Anatolia. We compute great-circle and shortest-path distances from each site to 35 possible agricultural centers of origin--ten are based on early sites in the Middle East and 25 are hypothetical locations set at 5 degrees latitude/longitude intervals. We perform a linear fit of distance versus age (and vice versa) for each center. For certain centers, high correlation coefficients (R > 0.8) are obtained. This implies that a steady rate or speed is a good overall approximation for this historical development. The average rate of the Neolithic spread over Europe is 0.6-1.3 km/y (95% confidence interval). This is consistent with the prediction of demic diffusion (0.6-1.1 km/y). An interpolative map of correlation coefficients, obtained by using shortest-path distances, shows that the origins of agriculture were most likely to have occurred in the northern Levantine/Mesopotamian area.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus