Climate Change and Migrating Farmers: The Spread of Agriculture to Southern Europe
Farming spread from its center of origin in western Asia to southern Europe at the beginning of the Holocene. This phenomenon has prompted many questions. Why did farming spread when it did? Who brought it to southern Europe, and by what means?
Migrant farmers from western Asia reached the Aegean before 9,000 cal BP (c. 7,000 BC). Then there was a pause that lasted a millennium. The onward spread of farming took this new economy rapidly inland to the Danube Basin, and westward to the Adriatic and beyond. The westward dispersal took place along the coasts; the only reasonable explanation is that it was carried forward by migrating farmers looking for new lands to settle, an hypothesis supported by the latest ADNA evidence. The question then is, why did they leave the Aegean for the Adriatic and beyond so suddenly? Results from the “Early Farming in Dalmatia Project” are providing answers to these questions.
Recent research has focused on the impact of a sudden reversal of climate, the “8,200 cal BP event”. During this episode the climate of the early Holocene became cold and dry. This phase lasted about 300 years, or 10 human generations, enough to disrupt the existing farming economy in the Aegean and over a much wider area. It caused some of these farmers to leave their homeland in search of fresh lands to colonize. It was these migrants who brought farming to the Adriatic and beyond.
January 26 at 6:00 pm
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