Thursday 8 February 2018

Supply and Demand in Prehistory? Economics of Neolithic Mining in NW Europe (NEOMINE)

"We can see that mine activity accelerated rapidly after beginning around 4500 cal. BC, in advance of the Neolithic population increase in Britain and Ireland, leading the population curve by around 200 years (though our method will tend to exaggerate the effect of the early end of the individual date probability distributions for both the mines and the population). Since the main products of the mines and quarries were axes it seems likely that this corresponds to a period of forest clearance by the immigrant groups who introduced farming to Britain and Ireland at this time (Olalde et al. 2017). Mining activity then declined, before rising again around 3000 cal. BC. The hinterland population decreased sharply after this, and when it recovered from 2500 cal. BC onwards, flint and stone mining did not return, probably because the first copper metallurgy was introduced at this time."

Shennan, S, Bevan, A, Edinborough, K, Kerig, T, Parker Pearson, M and Schauer, P 2017 Supply and Demand in Prehistory? Economics of Neolithic Mining in NW Europe (NEOMINE). Archaeology International, No. 20: pp. 74–79, DOI:

Published: 14 December 2017 Copyright: © 2017 The Author(s).

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See

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