European and American cemetery data reveal a Neolithic demographic transition on a worldwide scale

Stephan Naji, ACI

From a paleoanthropological database of Mesolithic-Neolithic cemeteries in Europe and North Africa, the signal for a major demographic change was detected (Bocquet-Appel 2002). This signal is characterized by a relatively abrupt increase of immature skeletons proportion. From the Mesolithic to the Neolithic, the proportion of immature skeletons increases by 20 to 30% over a period of approximately 500-700 years. This change indicates a notable increase of the crude birth rate and was named the Neolithic Demographic Transition (NDT). A 62 North American cemeteries sample (5250 BC-1600 AD) generated a signal identical to the European and North African one, over a period of 600-800 years. This change corroborates the NDT prediction which occurred in various agriculture invention centers in the world. The assumed cause for this Neolithic birth outburst is the decrease in suckling frequency due to the end of the hunter-gatherer mobility.

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Presented in Poster Session 3