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The Expansions of Farming Societies and the Role of the Neolithic Demographic Transition

  • Peter Bellwood
  • Marc Oxenham

Abstract

The hypothesis of the Neolithic demographic transition (NDT) postulates that sharp increases in birthrates occurred as populations in different parts of the world adopted sedentary lifestyles and food storage, reduced their birth intervals, and came to depend increasingly on food production as opposed to foraging. For a period after these regional transitions to food production occurred, birth rates and absolute population numbers increased dramatically, at least in those areas (Europe, Middle East, North Africa, North America, Southeast Asia) so far subjected to cemetery analysis. This chapter discusses some general issues connected with early farmer expansion and presents archaeological and cemetery data relevant for an evaluation of the NDT hypothesis from East and Southeast Asia.

Keywords

Neolithic demographic transition first farmers food production palaeodemography southeast asian prehistory human migration 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Bellwood
    • 1
  • Marc Oxenham
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Archaeology and AnthropologyAustralian National UniversityAustralia

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