Going West? uses the latest data to question how the Neolithic way of life was diffused from the Near East to Europe via Anatolia. The transformations of the 7th millennium BC in western Anatolia undoubtedly had a significant impact on the neighboring regions of southeast Europe. Yet the nature, pace and trajectory of this impact needs still to be clarified. Archaeologists searched previously for similarities in prehistoric, especially Early Neolithic, material cultures on both sides of the Sea of Marmara. Recent research shows that although the isthmi of the Dardanelles and the Bosporus connect Asia Minor and the eastern Balkans, they apparently did not serve as passageways for the dissemination of Neolithic innovations. Instead, the first permanent settlements are situated near the Aegean coast of Thrace and Macedonia, often occurring close to the mouths of big rivers in secluded bays. The courses and the valleys of rivers such as the Maritsa, Strymon and Axios, were perfect corridors for contact and exchange.Using previous studies as a basis for fresh research, this volume presents exciting new viewpoints by analyzing recently discovered materials and utilising interdisciplinary investigations with the application of modern research methods.
The seventeen authors of this book have dedicated their research to a renewed evaluation of an old problem: namely, the question of how the complex transformations at the transition from the Mesolithic to the Neolithic can be explained. They have focused their studies on the vast area of the eastern Balkans and the Pontic region between the Bosporus and the rivers Strymon, Danube and Dniestr. Going West? thus offers an overview of the current state of research concerning the Neolithisation of these areas, considering varied viewpoints and also providing useful starting points for future investigations.