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November 19 2012

Europe's First Farmers Came, Then Went

The first farmers who swept into Europe 6000 to 7000 years ago may have grown too big for their britches—or animal skins—too fast. A new study of archaeological sites across Western Europe highlights a strikingly consistent pattern in Neolithic farmers' communities: Their populations grew too big, too quickly, and crashed right after they peaked.

"We can see a dramatic history of booms and busts," archaeologist Stephen Shennan of University College London (UCL) reported yesterday in a talk at the 111th meeting of the American Anthropological Association in San Francisco, California.

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