Estimating population size, density and dynamics of Pre-Pottery Neolithic villages in the central and southern Levant: an analysis of Beidha, southern Jordan
Publisher: Maney Publishing
The Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN) of the central and southern Levant played an integral role in the Neolithic Demographic Transition (NDT) from mobile hunter-gatherer to village-based, agro-pastoralist societies. An understanding of population dynamics is essential for reconstructing the trajectories of these early village societies. However, few investigations have produced absolute estimates of population parameters for these villages and those which have base estimates on a limited methodological framework. This research examines the methodological and theoretical basis for existing estimates, and explores a range of methodologies in order to derive more empirically-robust demographic data. Results reveal that commonly utilized methodologies and population density coefficients employed for estimating PPN village populations require re-evaluation. This article presents the application of methodologies to the PPNB site of Beidha in southern Jordan.
This data was imported from Scopus:
© 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. An understanding of population dynamics is essential for reconstructing the trajectories of central and southern Levantine Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN) villages. The aim of this investigation was to derive more empirically and statistically robust absolute demographic data than currently exists. Several methodologies were explored, including those based on dwelling unit size and the number of dwellings; residential floor area per person; population density; and allometric growth formulae. The newly established storage provisions formulae based on the affordance of sleeping individuals within structures was found to be the most viable method. Estimates were adjusted to reflect potential structural contemporaneity calculated from building use-life and phase length estimates based on archaeological, ethnographic and experimental research, and Bayesian chronological modelling of radiocarbon dates. The application of methodologies to the PPNB site of Beidha in southern Jordan is presented. The analysis highlights inconsistencies with current theory relating to population density at Beidha. In particular, the results suggest that nuclear families probably did not form the predominant dwelling unit type during Subphases A2 and B2. In addition, population density was estimated at anywhere between 350 and 900 people per ha. This range far exceeds the ethnographically derived density values commonly utilized for reconstructing PPN village populations (c. 90 to 294 people per ha).