Radiocarbon evidence for maritime pioneer colonization at the origins of farming in west Mediterranean Europe

João Zilhão

Most radiocarbon dates for the earliest Neolithic cultures of west Mediterranean Europe are on samples of unidentified charcoal. If only results obtained on short lived samples (seeds, shells, and bone) of diagnostic material (domesticates, artifacts, and human remains) are considered, then the dates for the first appearance of the Neolithic package are indistinguishable statistically from central Italy to Portugal and cluster around 5400 calendar B.C. This rapidity of spread, no more than six generations, can be best explained in the framework of a maritime pioneer colonization model.

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