Zooarchaeological Aspects of the Neolithic Diet Transition in the Near East and Europe, and Their Putative Relationships with the Neolithic Demographic Transition

  • Jean-Denis Vigne


The goal of the first part of this chapter is to summarize the recent results of zooarchaeological research into the beginning of ungulate domestication in the Near East (more precisely southeastern Anatolia, the northern Levant and Cyprus) and Europe. It focuses on the earliest evidence of animal domestication and dispersion, and on its slow and complex tempo. The impact on diet varies in the different regions, especially in Western Europe. The second part of the chapter inventories differing deliberations, as well as both osteological and isotopic results, in order to estimate the technical skills of the last hunters/first farmers in animal management and exploitation. A special section is devoted to the question of early milk exploitation during the early stages of the Neolithic. In the conclusion, based on a new chronology of the different steps in the birth of animal husbandry in the Near East between 8500 and 7000 B.C., the author posits that these developments provoked a substantial qualitative and quantitative improvement of the animal food supply, and discusses these proposals with reference to the Neolithic Demographic Transition (NDT) and the other components of neolithization in these areas.


Animal domestication neolithization archaeozoology human diet milk near east Europe 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Denis Vigne
    • 1
  1. 1.Département Ecologie et Gestion de la BiodiversitéCNRS (UMR 5197) Muséum national d’Histoire naturelleFrance

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