In this chapter the different interpretation of the neolithization process is presented and discussed. It can be shown that research over the last decades indicates that hunter-gatherers had settled most part of the world before 15 000 BC. It concluded that researchers have become aware of the manipulation of the environment by these early hunter-gatherers, a manipulation finally leading to domestication tendencies of both plants and animals.
The earliest evidence for the domestication is so far found in three different core areas, South America, the Levant and China, roughly contemporaneous at the Pleistocene-Holocene transition ca 10 000 BP Other local but later developments can be found in north America and Africa.
The interpretations of this transition dominated by a western discourse based in universities in the USA, and are framed in human behavioral ecology. There are, however, recent attempts to challenge this tradition by researchers focusing social and ideological issues, especially by researchers in European universities. This research is mainly based on the interpretation of the secondary spread of the new economy.
There are two main ideas explaining the transition in the secondary areas of spread, a gradual change within hunter-gatherer societies leading to domestication on the one hand, and the idea that the transition was fast and abrupt with dramatic consequences for the hunter-gatherers. In this discussion the question whether the transition is the result of migrating farmers or if it is the result of diffusion of ideas and a subsequent acculturation of hunter-gatherers becomes important. Recent development of the analysis of ancient DNA has challenged the long held idea that this tradition in its secondary areas was the result of acculturation. It is now believed that migration had an important role in this process.
Lund: Studentlitteratur , 2013.