The expansions of farming societies and the role of the Neolithic demographic transition

Peter Bellwood*, Marc Oxenham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

82 Citations (Scopus)


The hypothesis of the Neolithic demographic transition (NDT) postulates that sharp increases in birthrates occurred as populations in different parts of the world adopted sedentary lifestyles and food storage, reduced their birth intervals, and came to depend increasingly on food production as opposed to foraging. For a period after these regional transitions to food production occurred, birth rates and absolute population numbers increased dramatically, at least in those areas (Europe, Middle East, North Africa, North America, Southeast Asia) so far subjected to cemetery analysis. This chapter discusses some general issues connected with early farmer expansion and presents archaeological and cemetery data relevant for an evaluation of the NDT hypothesis from East and Southeast Asia.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Neolithic Demographic Transition and its Consequences
EditorsJP Bocquet-Appel, O Bar-Yosef
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4020-8539-0
ISBN (Print)9781402085383
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2008


  • First farmers
  • Food production
  • Human migration
  • Neolithic demographic transition
  • Palaeodemography
  • Southeast asian prehistory


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