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Supplementary information and figures from Demographic estimates from the Palaeolithic–Mesolithic boundary in Scandinavia: comparative benchmarks and novel insights

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journal contribution
posted on 23.10.2020, 08:47 by Victor Lundström, Robin Peters, Felix Riede
Prehistoric demography has recently risen to prominence as a potentially explanatory variable for episodes of cultural change as documented in the archaeological and ethnographic record. While this has resulted in a veritable boom in methodological developments seeking to address temporal changes in the relative size of prehistoric populations, little work has focused on the manner in which population dynamics manifests across a spatial dimension. Most recently, the so-called Cologne Protocol has led the way in this field. However, strict requirements of raw-material exchange data as analytical inputs have prevented further applications of the protocol to regions outside of continental Europe. We apply an adjusted approach of the protocol that makes it case transferable to other parts of the world, while demonstrating its utility by providing comparative benchmarks of previous research on the Late Glacial Final Palaeolithic of southern Scandinavia, and novel insights from the early Holocene pioneer colonization of coastal Norway. Although our results (re)demonstrate that population levels were low and occasionally hovered just above potential viability thresholds, we consider the estimates on population densities as having a much stronger and, occasionally, more negative effect on episodes of cultural change as testified in the regional archaeological records.This article is part of the theme issue ‘Cross-disciplinary approaches to prehistoric demography’.

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