The Neolithic represents a crucial time of immense social, cultural, economic and environmental change in human history, as people move from Epipaleolithic/Mesolithic hunter-gathers to Neolithic settled agricultural communities accompanied by new technological developments and material culture types. With the spread of the Neolithic way of life currently being seen as associated with migrations from Anatolia into the Balkans, these broad regions represent a key zone for understanding the Neolithisation of Europe. Recent aDNA results additionally highlight the impact of these past societies, but also demonstrate the lack of scientific knowledge in many essential aspects, such as timing, nature, dispersal and direction of societal change during the Neolithisation process. Although the connectivity between the Aegean-Anatolian world and the Balkans is widely accepted for the beginning of the Neolithic, a combined study of new technologies and the meaning behind shared cultural features (Neolithic Package) has seldom been undertaken so far. The paper will present results from long-term fieldworks in Anatolia (Çukuriçi Höyük) with focus on early farming societies in 7th millennium calBC. The already proposed model of maritime colonization and pioneer sites will be discussed and contextualized with the development of Neolithic societies and regional identities in the following centuries. New primary data from recently started excavations at the central Balkans (Svinjarička Čuka) will finally offer a contrasting picture leading to the hypothesis of long and short revolutions in this crucial period.
Prof. Dr. Barbara Horejs
Scientific Director Austrian Archaeological Institute
Austrian Academy of Sciences
Virtual reconstruction of the Neolithic village at Çukuriçi Höyük dating around 6400 calBC (ERC Prehistoric Anatolia/7reasons).