Simulating the Neolithic

Simulating the Neolithic, a one-day workshop hosted by University College London on 19th February 2015, was dedicated to discussions of recent research on the emergence and spread of the Neolithic. 

The workshop brought together speakers from diverse disciplines, who presented some of their latest results with regards to questions surrounding the spread of cultural, technological, and biological components of the Neolithic. The SimulPast project was represented in the workshop by the following presentation about the work by SimulPast group G8: 

Modelling Neolithic transitions at continental and regional scalescontinental and regional scales


Demic and cultural diffusion were integrated in a unified description of Neolithic transitions (Fort, PNAS 2012). That approach has been applied to disentangle the importance of demic and cultural diffusion at the continental scale in Europe and, more recently, Southern Africa (Jerardino, Fort, Isern & Rondelli, PLoS One 2014). A very recent regional analysis for Europe highlights the limitations of such models, mainly due to uncertainties in the parameter values. It will be argued that archaeological, ethnographic and mathematical modelling work are not enough to overcome these limitations. In order to do so, it seems absolutely necessary to collect a new kind of genetic data.