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Neolithic Baby Boom?

Reconsidering Demography and the Evolution of the World’s First Villages

October 30, 2019

ANAMED Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations, İstiklal Caddesi No. 181, Merkez Han, Beyoğlu, İstanbul

How can we understand how many people lived in a Neolithic village in the Near East? With no written records, archaeologists rely on ethnographic, architectural and archaeological data to determine how domestic spaces were used, how many people might have lived in them and how many people could the average village support. Current estimates of 3,000 to 8,000 people might be significantly overstated, as Ian Kujit will discuss on October 30th at ANAMED. It now seems more likely that villages like Aşikli Höyük and Çatalhöyük in Turkey, or Tell Sabi Abyad, Tell Halula and ‘Ain Ghazal, in Syria and Jordan, were inhabited by around 1,000 to 1,200 people, with somewhere between 600 to 900 of these being adults. This understanding has important implications for how researchers model the evolution of world’s first villages, understand the tempo of the Neolithic Demographic Transition, and itchallenges us to reassessing our understanding of the emergence of household and community social networks.

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