EARLY AGRICULTURALIST POPULATION DIASPORAS? FARMING, LANGUAGES, AND GENES

Peter Bellwood

School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University, Canberra ACT 0200, Australia; e-mail: peter.bellwood@anu.edu.au






Abstract

The consequences of early agricultural development in several regions of the Old and New Worlds included population growth, the spread of new material cultures and of food-producing economies, the expansions of language families, and in many cases the geographical expansions of the early farming populations themselves into territories previously occupied by hunters and gatherers. This chapter discusses some of the different outcomes that can be expected according to the differing perspectives of archaeology, linguistics, and biological anthropology. I argue that agriculturalist expansion lies at the root of many of the world's major language families, although this need not imply that farmers always replaced hunter-gatherers in the biological sense. History, enviromental variations, and prior cultural configurations dictated many of the outcomes, some of which played a fundamental role in the large-scale genesis of human cultural and biological patterning from Neolithic/Formative times into the world of today