Publication details

Take a seed! Revealing Neolithic landscape and agricultural development in the Carpathian Basin through multivariate statistics and environmental modelling


KEMPF Michael

Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source PLOS ONE
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description The Carpathian Basin represents the cradle of human agricultural development during the Neolithic period, when large parts were transformed into ‘cultural landscapes’ by first farmers from the Balkans. It is assumed that an Early Neolithic subsistence economy established along the hydrologic systems and on Chernozem soil patches, which developed from loess deposits. However, recent results from soil chemistry and geoarchaeological analyses raised the hypothesis that extensive Chernozem coverage developed from increased landuse activity and that Early Neolithic ‘cultural’ groups were not restricted to loess-covered surfaces but rather preferred hydromorphic soils that formed in the floodplains. This article performs multivariable statistics from large datasets of Neolithic sites in Hungary and allows tracing Early to Late Neolithic site preferences from digital environmental data. Quantitative analyses reveal a strong preference for hydromorphic soils, a significant avoidance of loesscovered areas, and no preference for Chernozem soils throughout the Early Neolithic followed by a strong transformation of site preferences during the Late Neolithic period. These results align with socio-cultural developments, large-scale mobility patterns, and land-use and surface transformation, which shaped the Carpathian Basin and paved the way for the agricultural revolution across Europe.

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