Ancient farming populations went boom, then bust | Science News

Real Science. Real News.

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.


Ancient farming populations went boom, then bust

11:00am, October 1, 2013

Europe’s ancient embrace of farming took the continent on a demographic roller-coaster ride. Regional booms and busts in human numbers occurred between 8,000 and 4,000 years ago, a new study finds.

From southern France to Scotland and Scandinavia, 10 of 12 regions with early farming sites experienced substantial population ups, downs or both, say archaeologist Stephen Shennan of University College London and his colleagues. Known climate changes from the period show no relation to the timing of the shifts in the size of these farming societies, the researchers report October 1 in Nature Communications.

“Diminishing natural resources due to agricultural practices may partly have caused population busts,” says anthropologist and study coauthor Sean Downey of the University of Maryland in College Park. He and his colleagues

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content