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Approaching prehistoric demography: proxies, scales and scope of the Cologne Protocol in European contexts

Abstract

In many theories on the social and cultural evolution of human societies, the number and density of people living together in a given time and region is a crucial factor. Because direct data on past demographic developments are lacking, and reliability and validity of demographic proxies require careful evaluation, the topic has been approached from several different directions. This paper provides an introduction to a geostatistical approach for estimating prehistoric population size and density, the so-called Cologne Protocol and discusses underlying theoretical assumptions and upscaling transfer-functions between different spatial scale levels. We describe and compare the specifics for farming and for foraging societies and, using examples, discuss a diachronic series of estimates, covering the population dynamics of roughly 40 kyr of European prehistory. Ethnohistoric accounts, results from other approaches—including absolute (ethno-environmental models) and relative estimates (site-numbers, dates as data, etc.) allow a first positioning of the estimates within this field of research. Future enhancements, applications and testing of the Cologne Protocol are outlined and positioned within the general theoretical and methodological avenues of palaeodemographic research. In addition, we provide manuals for modelling Core Areas in MapInfo, ArcGIS, QGIS/Saga and R.

This article is part of the theme issue ‘Cross-disciplinary approaches to prehistoric demography’.

Resources

pdf Schmidt_etal_2021.pdf Accessed 7 times | Last updated 26.04.2021

Bibliography

Schmidt Isabell, Hilpert Johanna, Kretschmer Inga, Peters Robin, Broich Manuel, Schiesberg Sara, Vogels Oliver, Wendt Karl Peter, Zimmermann Andreas and Maier Andreas 2021Approaching prehistoric demography: proxies, scales and scope of the Cologne Protocol in European contextsPhil. Trans. R. Soc. B3762019071420190714 http://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2019.0714

Authors Schmidt, Isabell and Hilpert, Johanna and Kretschmer, Inga and Peters, Robin and Broich, Manuel and Schiesberg, Sara and Vogels, Oliver and Wendt, Karl Peter and Zimmermann, Andreas and Maier, Andreas
Type article
Title Approaching prehistoric demography: proxies, scales and scope of the Cologne Protocol in European contexts
Citation Schmidt Isabell, Hilpert Johanna, Kretschmer Inga, Peters Robin, Broich Manuel, Schiesberg Sara, Vogels Oliver, Wendt Karl Peter, Zimmermann Andreas and Maier Andreas 2021Approaching prehistoric demography: proxies, scales and scope of the Cologne Protocol in European contextsPhil. Trans. R. Soc. B3762019071420190714 http://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2019.0714
DOI http://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2019.0714
Journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Series B
Year 2021
Volume 376
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