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Title: The Neolithic of Europe : mathematical modelling and radiocarbon data
Author: Davison, Kate
ISNI:       0000 0001 3418 0343
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2008
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Palaeo-demography of the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition remains a dominant topic in recent prehistoric debate. This thesis is concerned with the mathematical modelling of this transition from the Mesolithic to the Neolithic in Europe, from about 7000 to 4000 BC. A database of 1420 radiocarbon dates is compiled and forms the chronology of the Neolithic against which the success of our modelling is assessed. Population dynamics models are used to study the dispersal of the Neolithic in Europe from a localised area in the Near East in the first instance, solving the twodimensional reaction-diffusion-advection equation on a spherical surface. Initially the focus is on the role of major river paths and coastlines in the advance of farming, to model the rapid advances of the Linear Pottery (LBK) and the Impressed Ware traditions along the Danube-Rhine corridor and the Mediterranean coastline, respectively. The standard reactiondiffusion equation is thus supplemented with an advection term, confined to the proximity of major rivers and coastlines to account for the anisotropic diffusion in those areas. The model allows for the spatial variation in both the human mobility (diffusivity) and carrying capacity, reflecting the local altitude and latitude: Further, motivated by the radiocarbon dates from pottery bearing sites in Eastern Europe, a population dynamics model is developed to suggest the presence of two waves of advance, one from the Near East, and another through Eastern Europe. Our modelling successfully accounts for the regional variations in the spread of the Neolithic, consistent with the radiocarbon data, thus we provide a quantitative framework in which a unified interpretation of the Western and Eastern Neolithic can be developed. Finally we lay the foundations upon which subsequent modelling of the population behaviour behind the initial wave of advance can be built, with particular regard to the Chalcolithic Cucuteni-Tripolye culture in Eastern Europe.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available