From the Aegean to the Adriatic: Exploring the Neolithization of Islands

Author(s): Suzanne Pilaar Birch

Year: 2016


Frameworks for understanding Neolithization have increasingly recognized the complex and multifaceted nature of the spread of domesticates from Southwest Asia into Europe. But how do these factors interplay in unique island settings as compared to the continental scale? This paper takes a comparative approach using sites located on islands from the Aegean and the Adriatic to address changing subsistence and herd management between 10,000-7,000 BP. Based on zooarchaeological and biogeochemical evidence, I explore differences between island and mainland diet and mobility, and consider a number of markers for constraints such as lack of water, land, and available biomass. After defining the early Holocene archaeological context and its implications for initial Neolithization, I discuss evidence for patterns of specialization and intensification of livestock exploitation as well as the utilization of wild resources throughout the Neolithic in response to rising populations throughout the period. Located along a “crossroads” and presenting distinct environmental challenges, the islands of both the Aegean and the Adriatic are ideally situated for investigating human ecodynamics at this pivotal transition.

Cite this Record

From the Aegean to the Adriatic: Exploring the Neolithization of Islands. Suzanne Pilaar Birch. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403148)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;