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What is the CECD? 
The CECD is an AHRC funded research group dedicated to examining the evolutionary underpinnings of human cultural behaviour, past and present. more>

   
Page Title - projects
Phase 2: Theme C - Innovations in complex social networks: Project C006
The origin and spread of Neolithic animal economies

SUPERVISOR: - Shennan

Stephen Shennan (Institute of Archaeology, University College London)
Keith Dobney (Department of Archaeology, University of Durham)

PROJECT FUNDING: AHRC £380,000

PROJECT ABSTRACT:
In western Eurasia we know that the earliest evidence for domestic farmyard animals occurs in the Levant and Anatolia around 10,000 years ago. We also know that farming then spread westwards through Europe over the subsequent millennia, arriving in the far west and north of Europe some 6,000 years ago. However, for decades there have been major debates as to the nature of this spread, with many basic questions still remaining largely unanswered. For example, was it gradual or punctuated? Was the spread achieved through actual migration/colonisation of people, or were only ideas and goods exchanged? Did indigenous domestication of widely distributed wild animals such as wild boar and cattle take place outside the core 'hearth' area of the near East and, if so, was it spontaneous and devoid of external influence? How much interaction was there between early farming groups and contemporary and adjacent foragers/hunters? Are there differences in husbandry practices through time and across both cultural and geographic boundaries, and if so how are they to be explained?

This research project aims to rectify this by carrying out the largest and most systematic survey of published/archived archaeological animal bone data ever undertaken, in order to re-examine the evidence for the origins of stock-keeping in the Near East and its spread into Europe during the Epipalaeolithic and Neolithic periods some 12,000 to 6,000 years ago.

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FINAL PROJECT REPORT:
None Supplied

ASSOCIATED PUBLICATIONS:
S. Shennan (in prep).
Origins and Spread of Stock-keeping in the Near East and Europe. Left Coast Press.
Conolly, J., Colledge, S., Dobney, K., Vigne, J-D., Peters, J., Stopp, B., Manning, K. & Shennan, S (2011).
Meta-analysis of zooarchaeological data from SW Asia and SE Europe provides insight into the origins and spread of animal husbandry . Journal of Archaeological Science. Vol 38:538-545.