News & AnalysisArchaeology

Ancient Migrants Brought Farming Way of Life to Europe

Science  27 Apr 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6080, pp. 400-401
DOI: 10.1126/science.336.6080.400

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Researchers are using ancient DNA from two sets of Scandinavian burials to explore the long-running question of how farming spread across Europe. Did farmers themselves migrate throughout Europe, or just the ideas and techniques of farming? What routes did farmers and farming take as they replaced the hunter-gatherer societies already present? Did farming advance in one solid wave, or sometimes leapfrog its way past the resident hunter-gatherers? A study reported on page 466 of this week's issue of Science provides new evidence that farmers personally took the technology across Europe, and that the first farmers of chilly northern Europe came from the continent's sunny Mediterranean south.