The spread of agriculture in Iberia through Approximate Bayesian Computation and Neolithic projectile tools.

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Cortell-Nicolau, Alfredo  ORCID logo
García-Puchol, Oreto 
Barrera-Cruz, María 
García-Rivero, Daniel 

In the present article we use geometric microliths (a specific type of arrowhead) and Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC) in order to evaluate possible origin points and expansion routes for the Neolithic in the Iberian Peninsula. In order to do so, we divide the Iberian Peninsula in four areas (Ebro river, Catalan shores, Xúquer river and Guadalquivir river) and we sample the geometric microliths existing in the sites with the oldest radiocarbon dates for each zone. On this data, we perform a partial Mantel test with three matrices: geographic distance matrix, cultural distance matrix and chronological distance matrix. After this is done, we simulate a series of partial Mantel tests where we alter the chronological matrix by using an expansion model with randomised origin points, and using the distribution of the observed partial Mantel test's results as a summary statistic within an Approximate Bayesian Computation-Sequential Monte-Carlo (ABC-SMC) algorithm framework. Our results point clearly to a Neolithic expansion route following the Northern Mediterranean, whilst the Southern Mediterranean route could also find support and should be further discussed. The most probable origin points focus on the Xúquer river area.

Africa, Northern, Agriculture, Algorithms, Anthropology, Bayes Theorem, Geography, History, Ancient, Humans, Mediterranean Sea, Radiometric Dating, Spain, Tool Use Behavior
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PLoS One
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Public Library of Science (PLoS)
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) Marie Sk?odowska-Curie actions (101020631)