The population movement

The population movement

Introduction

Population movement may be utilised to reconstruct activities during the MesolithicNeolithic transition Recent research particularly that relating to genetics and isotopic analysis has been employed to assist in this tracking of movement though issues with this process have arisen as will be discussed below Generally when analysing the transition archaeologists have tended to focus primarily on a change in economy compiling set criteria which indicate either Mesolithic people or Neolithic people and leaving very little room for additional interpretations Though efforts are now being employed to allow for other interpretations The scientific approach encompassing both genetics and linguistics when combined with archaeological methods can provide a window into human movements during the MesolithicNeolithic transition Linguistics clearly would have constituted a huge element of culture and social differentiation from other groups or ethnicities or inclusion within your own group though evidence of linguistics is vague and circumstantial at present The archaeology of the transition has been the main focus which is likely because it is the most tangible evidence which remains However it is important to remember that this is also subject to the bias of interpretation

While addressing the benefits and draw backs of genetics and linguistics we need to remain aware of the general questions surrounding the MesolithicNeolithic transition Was the transition the result of a movement of farmers foragers who adopted farming or was it a combination of the two At what speed did the transition occur was it a gradual or rapid affair Furthermore the classification of the Neolithic package which refers to agriculture domestic animals polished stone tools pottery and settlement are also often questioned This is directly linked to the question of what we classify as Mesolithic or Neolithic The recent trend has focused primarily on the mosaic nature of the transition examining it in a very detailed manner While this is a valid method archaeologists must be consistently conscious that results derived from individual sites do not necessarily represent larger scale activity Robb and Miracle 2007

Genetics Archaeology and Mobility during the MesolithicNeolithic Transition

Past genetic processes have embedded specific signatures in the genes of modern populations Therefore genetic data has the capability to further inform our knowledge of the transition Increasingly archaeologists have accepted the importance of acknowledging the variety messiness and localness of the MesolithicNeolithic transition in direct contrast to those looking specifically at the bigger picture Amongst those looking at the larger scale view are geneticists and scientists Cooney 2007

The study of genetics is the science of hereditary and variation in organisms Y Chromosome male and Mt DNA female The following section refers to the term haplotype which is a set of closely linked genetic markers it is half of a genotype which is the specific allelic composition of a cell An allelic is one or more forms of a gene Everything Bio 2007

Genetic evidence generally includes mitochondrial Y chromosomal and classical marker evidence derived from modern populations One of the main issues to be considered when reviewing the data from genetic research is the relatively small data sets in addition to distinguishing patterns within the genetic DNA of modern populations when using them to determine ancient DNA patterns Nevertheless the modern composition of the European gene pool appears to reflect these early colonising movements more strongly than any other demographic event in prehistory It has been estimated that around 85 per cent of European mitochondrial sequences probably originated in the upper Palaeolithic of Europe

There have been a number of issues identified with early attempts to use DNA to track mobility of ancient peoples These were primarily to do wi

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