Journal article

The Neolithic Demographic Transition in Europe: Correlation with Juvenility Index Supports Interpretation of the Summed Calibrated Radiocarbon Date Probability Distribution (SCDPD) as a Valid Demographic Proxy

Sean S Downey, Emmy Bocaege, Tim Kerig, Kevan Edinborough, Stephen Shennan



Analysis of the proportion of immature skeletons recovered from European prehistoric cemeteries has shown that the transition to agriculture after 9000 BP triggered a long-term increase in human fertility. Here we compare the largest analysis of European cemeteries to date with an independent line of evidence, the summed calibrated date probability distribution of radiocarbon dates (SCDPD) from archaeological sites. Our cemetery reanalysis confirms increased growth rates after the introduction of agriculture; the radiocarbon analysis also shows this pattern, and a significant correlation between both lines of evidence confirms the demographic validity of SCDPDs. We analyze the areal extent o..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by European Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

The work described here was supported by European Research Council Advanced Grant #249390 to Shennan ( The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.