University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Biological Anthropology Seminar Series > Is there anybody out there? Reconstructing large-scale prehistoric population dynamics and migration processes

Is there anybody out there? Reconstructing large-scale prehistoric population dynamics and migration processes

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Demography has become more and more acknowledged as well as critically discussed within theories and models on Palaeolithic hunter-gatherer societies. However, there is a continuous debated on how to derive, apply and interpret such estimates in Prehistoric research. The project “Population Dynamics: Demographic Changes of Hunter-Gatherer Populations during the Upper Pleistocene and Early Holocene in Europe” (Prof. A. Zimmermann, Collaborative Research Centre 806 “Our way to Europe“) developed an approach to calculate estimates allowing diachronic comparisons as well as the analysis of synchronic, high resolution spatial dynamics. This approach uses a hierarchically structured model to transfer data from relevant key sites and core areas onto a subcontinental scale. By now, demographic estimates have been accomplished by a group of researchers along a continuous timeline for the European Upper Palaeolithic. The lecture will firstly introduce the methodological protocol that has been established at the University of Cologne, including a critical evaluation of factors that influence the process of data compilation and the calculation of estimates. Secondly, the value of informed population density estimates is discussed. Future avenues of testing and correlating demographic data in complex models are presented, drawing from published and current results on population densities, settlement patterns and human mobility obtained within the Cologne-based project.

This talk is part of the Biological Anthropology Seminar Series series.

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