Timing and Pace of Neolithisation in the Dutch Wetlands (c. 5000–3500 cal. BC)

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This article presents an overview of the current evidence on the process of Neolithisation in the Dutch wetlands. Over the years, several models have been proposed with different perspectives on the timing and pace of the process: a long transition, an early short transition, and a late short transition. The applicability of any of these models is, of course, dependent of the evidence. In this article, we briefly discuss recently obtained data from the Netherlands on vegetation disturbance (woodland clearing), soil disturbance (tillage), cereal cultivation, animal husbandry, and the use of ceramics. The data discussed
involve palynological, sedimentary, micromorphological, archaeobotanical, zooarchaeological, as well as lipid analyses. Hence, it is concluded that from the mid fifth millennium cal. BC onwards, various aspects of a more “Neolithic lifestyle” become apparent in the archaeological record, including cereal cultivation on a structural, but small-scale basis in wetland environments. However, despite the “gradual” tendency that can be observed, the evidence is as yet inconclusive with regard to any of the models, due to persisting limitations of the datasets, potential regional variability, and aspects of scale. A new project, the Emergence of Domestic Animals in the Netherlands (EDAN), aims at a better understanding of animal husbandry through aDNA and isotope analyses, within a framework of statistical chronological modelling. We expect this project to enhance the debate greatly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)658-670
Number of pages13
JournalOpen Archaeology
Publication statusPublished - 1-Jul-2021

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