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Durham University

Department of Archaeology

All Research Projects

Origins and Spread of Agriculture

A research project of the Department of Archaeology.


This series of themed projects undertaken by Dr. Peter Rowley-Conwy, involves study of the origins and spread of the Neolithic, from the Near East to northwestern Europe. A major focus has been the origin of the domestic pig, supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Wellcome Foundation. A major area of emphasis has been on the animal bones from Abu Hureyra in Syria, in collaboration with Professor A.J. Legge (University of London). Much work has been done on the Impressed Ware spread round the Mediterranean coast, involving study of animal bones from Arene Candide (Italy) and Caldeirão (Portugal). Increased dating resolution makes this look more like the immigration originally envisaged by Childe. Most work has focussed on Britain and Scandinavia. Here too the transition to agriculture looks more rapid than is often supposed; animal bones and plant remains both support the conclusion of isotopic and other research areas in this regard, and house remains of Early Neolithic date are more common than generally admitted. A project on pre-Neolithic “cereal-type” pollen, supported by the Leverhulme Trust and ably assisted by Dr. Jim Innes, has re-evaluated the status of such pollen traces.

Faunal sequence from Arene Candide


From the Department of Archaeology

Scottish Soldiers Project

Cooperating with the Palace Museum in China