Population and forest dynamics during the Central European Eneolithic (4500–2000 BC)

  • Jan Kolář
  • Petr Kuneš
  • Péter Szabó
  • Mária Hajnalová
  • Helena Svitavská Svobodová
  • Martin Macek
  • Peter Tkáč
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s12520-016-0446-5

Cite this article as:
Kolář, J., Kuneš, P., Szabó, P. et al. Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2016). doi:10.1007/s12520-016-0446-5


The population boom-and-bust during the European Neolithic (7000–2000 BC) has been the subject of lively discussion for the past decade. Most of the research on this topic was carried out with help of summed radiocarbon probability distributions. We aim to reconstruct population dynamics within the catchment of a medium sized lake on the basis of information on the presence of all known past human activities. We calculated a human activity model based on Monte Carlo simulations. The model showed the lowest level of human activity between 4000 and 3000 BC. For a better understanding of long-term socio-environmental dynamics, we also used the results of a pollen-based quantitative vegetation model, as well as a local macrophysical climate model. The beginning of the decline of archaeologically visible human activities corresponds with climatic changes and an increase in secondary forest taxa probably indicating more extensive land use. In addition, social and technological innovations are important, such as the introduction of the ard, wheel, animal traction and metallurgy, as well as changes in social hierarchy characterizing the same period.


Population dynamics Neolithic Eneolithic Secondary woodland REVEALS Macrophysical climate model 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Vegetation EcologyInstitute of Botany of the Czech Academy of SciencesBrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.Institute of Archaeology and Museology, Faculty of ArtsMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of Botany, Faculty of ScienceCharles University in PraguePraha 2Czech Republic
  4. 4.Department of ArchaeologyConstantine the Philosopher University in NitraNitraSlovakia
  5. 5.Department of GIS and Remote SensingInstitute of Botany of the Czech Academy of SciencesPrůhoniceCzech Republic

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