Neolithic Group Sizes – Further Thoughts

Author(s): Nigel Goring-Morris; Anna Belfer-Cohen

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Pushing the Envelope, Chasing Stone Age Sailors and Early Agriculture: Papers in Honor of the Career of Alan H. Simmons" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

The dominant paradigm concerning group size is frequently couched in terms of the "social brain hypothesis" (Dunbar 1998). On the other hand ethnographic evidence (Hill et al. 2014) posits much higher interaction rates amongst individuals than those based solely upon biological criteria (cognitive capacities, kin-based relationships, etc.). Such interactions, especially those with a ritual basis, may have major implications concerning the scale and scope of interactions relating to the shift from the mobile foraging bands to settled farming communities during the terminal Pleistocene and early Holocene in the Near East. We shall attempt to evaluate the implications of such observations concerning cultural dynamics in the region. One should bear in mind that during this period of significant changes in lifeways (both material and social/spiritual), the intensity and, especially, geographic scope of desired culture exchange networks (archaeologically most evident in the material remains) increased dramatically.

Cite this Record

Neolithic Group Sizes – Further Thoughts. Nigel Goring-Morris, Anna Belfer-Cohen. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450530)

Spatial Coverage

min long: 26.191; min lat: 12.211 ; max long: 73.477; max lat: 42.94 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 23057