The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)


The Neolithic transition in the Maghreb: a study through dental morphological data

FRANCESCA CANDILIO1, ANDREA CUCINA2 and ALFREDO COPPA1.

1Biologia Ambientale, UniversitĂ  di Roma "La Sapienza", Italy, 2Facultad de ciencias antropologicas, Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan, Mexico

Thursday 10:30-10:45, Broadway III/IV Add to calendar

The present study assesses diachronic relations among the different populations that have, inhabited the Maghreb during the transition to the Neolithic. Even though there is a general consensus regarding a Near, or Middle, Eastern origin of this transition that has determined indisputable changes in subsistence throughout the Mediterranean basin, its modalities and extent are still far from resolved. Two principal scenarios have been hypothesized: demic diffusion and cultural transmission; the first envisaging a change in the region’s genetic pool and the second, population continuity.In order to establish if there has been continuity in the Maghreb, the present study analyses the bearers of the Neolithic culture and establishes the relations they had with each other and with the populations that preceded them. It, furthermore, evaluates if the adoption of a Neolithic subsistence along the southern shore of the Mediterranean was an independent process or if, on the contrary, it was part of a wider phenomenon which interested, from the Near East, a great portion of the Old World. The results, indeed, seem to strongly suggest this transition was accompanied by consistent population replacement and that the Neolithic revolution spread in different directions. In particular, they seem to indicate routes along the northern and southern coasts of the Mediterranean, towards the Arabian Peninsula and along the shores of the Nile valley.

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