One sea but many routes to sail. The early maritime dispersal of Neolithic crops from the Aegean to the western Mediterranean

Authors: de Vareilles, A., Bouby, L., Jesus, A., Martin, L., Rottoli, M., Vander Linden, M. and AntolĂ­n, F.

Journal: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports

Volume: 29

Publisher: Elsevier

ISSN: 2352-409X

DOI: 10.1016/jasrep.2019.102140


This paper explores the first maritime westward expansion of crops across the Adriatic and the northern coast of the western Mediterranean. Starting in Greece at c.6500 cal BC and following the coastline to the Andalusian region of Spain to c.4500 cal BC, the presence of the main cereal, pulse, oil and fibre crops are recorded from 122 sites. Patterns in the distribution of crops are explored through ubiquity scores, correspondence analysis and Simpson's diversity index. Our findings reveal changes in the frequencies of crops as farming regimes developed in Europe, and show how different crops followed unique trajectories. Fluctuations in the diversity of the crop spectrum between defined areas are also evident, and may serve to illustrate how founder effects can explain some of the patterns evident in large-scale spatio-temporal evaluations. Within the broader westward expansion of farming, regionalism and multi-directional maritime networks described through archaeological materials are also visible in the botanical records.

Source: Manual