Abstract and Keywords
The Neolithic emerged progressively in the Near East; migrants introduced the first cultivated plants and partially domesticated animals to Cyprus in the ninth millennium BC. Expansion to south-eastern Europe by a series of terrestrial (via Anatolia) or maritime contacts commenced from 7000 BC. While a colonization process established the Neolithic in Thessaly from 6500 BC, possible interactions between local hunter-gatherers and migrant farmers are attested in the southern Aegean. The spread into the central and western Mediterranean started about 6000 BC: first by maritime colonization and subsequent diffusion to the hinterland. In south-east Italy, Impressed Ware groups show substantial agricultural establishment with numerous permanent settlements. Further west, increased mobility can be observed. Large village communities in the western Mediterranean areas did not occur before the fifth millennium BC. A global model of ‘arrhythmic’ diffusion adapted to the chronological and cultural breaks emphasizing this expansion throughout the European continent is developed.
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