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Durham University

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Origin and spread of stock-keeping in the Near East and Europe

A research project of the Department of Archaeology.


Funded for 4 years by the AHRC from June 2006, the main objective is to compile a comprehensive database of select animal bone data from relevant sites through which we can systematically aim to, 1) establish the key characteristics of early Neolithic animal exploitation economies through time and over broad and geographic regions, 2) understand the key factors that account for variation in early Neolithic animal expoitation - e.g. local availability versus physical dispersal of animals or ideas, 3) explore possible variation in husbandry/hunting strategies that developed as Neolithic herding economies spread from their area/s of origin, 4) assess the speed its spread across Europe, 5) look for possible adaptive changes in husbandry and hunting practises, 6) look for evidence of local indigenous domestication and finally 7) see whether the zooarchaeological evidence is similar or different to that already researched from ancient domestic and wild plant remains. This is a joint project between a new cross-faculty research centre at the University of Durham called "The Centre for Past Peoples and their Palaeoenvironments" (CP3) and the AHRC Centre for the Evolution of Cultural Diversity (CECD), Institute of Archaeology, UCL. The Principal investigators are Dr. Keith Dobney (CP3) and Professor Stephen Shennan (CECD).

The origin and spread of stock-keeping in the Near East and Europe


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