The Neolithic conquest of the Mediterranean
Jean Guilaine Στο M. Fernández-Götz & D. Krausse (eds) 2017. Eurasia at the Dawn of History. Urbanization and Social Change, New York: 67-80.
This chapter focuses first on the emergence of the Neolithic economic system in the Near East around the 10th-9th millennium BC, outlining the stages of its diffusion towards the Mediterranean and the cultural shifts provoked by that diffusion. The second part of the chapter examines the perceptible impact of social differentiation throughout the Neolithic period. It is likely that social differentiation dated from the establishment of the first large villages in the Near East. In the Central and Western Mediterranean, a larger diversity of statuses occurred only during the 5th or at the beginning of the 4th millennium BC (Grotta Patrizi, Latium; necropolis of Can Gambus, Catalonia). After 3500 BC, the development of large collective graves (megaliths and hypogea) cannot exclude the presence of social hierarchical processes. From 2500 BC onwards, the expansion of the Bell-Beaker phenomenon decompartmentalized the Western Mediterranean by spreading the image of the “armed male” (see Hernando, Chapter 4), an ideology that persisted into the first European cultures of the Bronze Age.