Current Anthropology, volume 47 (2006), pages 341–365
Testing the Hypothesis of a Worldwide Neolithic Demographic Transition
Jean-Pierre Bocquet-Appel and Stephan Naji
The signal of a major demographic change characterized by a relatively abrupt increase in the proportion of immature skeletons has been detected in a paleoanthropological database of 38 Mesolithic-Neolithic cemeteries from Europe and North Africa. From the Mesolithic to the Neolithic, the proportion of immature skeletons increases by 2030% over a period of 500700 years, indicating a notable increase in the crude birth rate. This shift has been called the Neolithic demographic transition. A similar signal has been detected in an independent set of archaeological data, namely, enclosures. This paper presents results from a sample of 62 cemeteries in North America (7,755 BP350 BP) that point to the same transition over a period of 600800 years.