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Human Ecology and Anthropobiology at the origins of Danubian people.

Jean Guilaine and Eric Crubézy
Collège de France, Paris ; UMR 8 555 du CNRS, Toulouse ; Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse

According to the arrhythmic model of neolithisation (Guilaine, 2000), from the Balkans to Central Europe, the progression of neolithisation has not been a regular one. This part of the world experienced a recomposition of the Neolithic. Indeed, the first steps of neolithisation were Mediterranean ones and at the border with central Europe, the populations had to adapt their economy to a continental environment. This period of “reneolithisation” seems to have lasted around half a millennium and is at the origins of the Danubian culture (LBK). Once the recomposition of the process of neolithisation was complete, a new phase of neolithisation began with a very high spread, which we call the “LBK diffusion”. In this perspective, it seems very interesting to pay attention to the first Danubian populations, close to the Balkan area, which could be less “differentiated” than later ones. The burial grounds of Vedrovice (Moravia) and Nitra-Horne Krskany (Slovakia) are the oldest cemeteries from the LBK culture and some of their characteristics have been studied (ref. infra). Some of the funerary rituals are more Mesolithic than Neolithic (Jeunesse, 1996) and the population benefited from some well-developed surgical procedures (trephination, amputation). This can only be compared to some of the first Neolithic populations from the Mediterranean Coast. Inhumation patterns reveal the demography of a natural population with life expectancy at birth standard for an archaic population. The ecological data show a stature close to other Neolithic populations, but other morphological characteristics (discrete traits) indicate an autochthonous origin, with no relation to Oriental Neolithic populations. Some of the infectious diseases, which point to infection by Mycobacterium , will be discussed in the light of our present knowledge of the evolution of this disease in relation to the ecological process of neolithisation.


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