Population Spread and Cultural Transmission in Neolithic Transitions

  • Joaquim Fort
  • Neus Isern
  • Antonieta Jerardino
  • Bernardo Rondelli
Part of the Computational Social Sciences book series (CSS)


The classical wave-of-advance model is based on Fisher’s equation. However, this approach leads to an unbounded wave-of-advance speed at high reproduction rates. In contrast, an integro-difference model leads to a finite upper bound for the speed, namely the maximum dispersal distance divided by the generation time. Intuitively, this is a very reasonable result. This demic model has been generalized to include cultural transmission (Fort, PNAS 2012). We apply this recent demic-cultural model to determine the percentages of demic and cultural diffusion in the Neolithic transition for two case studies: (i) Europe, and (ii) southern Africa (Jerardino et al., PLoS One 2014). The similarities and differences between both case studies are interpreted in terms of the three mechanisms at work (population reproduction, dispersal and acculturation).


Cultural Effect Cultural Transmission Population Spread Demic Model Cultural Diffusion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was funded in part by ICREA (JF and AJ) and the MINECO grants SimulPast-CSD2010-00034 (all authors) and FIS-2012-31307 (JF and NI). The authors are very thankful to John Kinahan, Jayson Orton, Thembi Russell, Karim Sadr, and Lita Webley for providing useful bibliography.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joaquim Fort
    • 1
  • Neus Isern
    • 1
  • Antonieta Jerardino
    • 2
  • Bernardo Rondelli
    • 3
  1. 1.ICREA/Complex Systems Lab and Physics DepartmentUniversitat de GironaGirona, CataloniaSpain
  2. 2.CaSEs Research Group, ICREA/Department of Experimental & Health SciencesUniversitat Pompeu FabraBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.ICREA/CaSEs Research Group, Department of Archaeology and AnthropologyInstitució Milà i FontanalsBarcelonaSpain

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