The Neolithic Demographic Transition and Its Consequences

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The transition from hunting and gathering to farming - the Neolithic Revolution - was one of the most signi cant cultural processes in human history that forever changed the face of humanity. Natu an communities (15,100-12,000Cal BP) (all dates in this chapter are calibrated before present) planted the seeds of change, and the Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN) (ca. 12,000-ca. 8,350Cal BP) people, were the rst to establish farming communities. The revolution was not fully realized until quite late in the PPN and later in the Pottery Neolithic (PN) period. We would like to ask some questions and comment on a few aspects emphas- ing the linkage between biological and cultural developments during the Neolithic Revolution. The biological issues addressed in this chapter are as follows: x Is there a demographic change from the Natu an to the Neolithic? x Is there a change in the overall health of the Neolithic populations compared to the Natu an? x Is there a change in the diet and how is it expressed? x Is there a change in the physical burden/stress people had to bear with? x Is there a change in intra- and inter-community rates of violent encounters? From the cultural perspective the leading questions will be: x What was the change in the economy and when was it fully realized? x Is there a change in settlement patterns and site nature and organization from Natu an to Neolithic? x Is there a change in human activities and division of labor?