Abstract The spread of agriculture is here examined from the perspective of changes in the composition of archaeobotantical assemblages. We apply multivariate analysis to a large database of plant assemblages from early Neolithic sites across South-West Asia and Europe and show that there are coherent and meaningful changes in their composition over time, to a large extent driven by a reduction in crop-taxa diversity. We interpret these changes as being partly caused by environmental factors, and partly caused by cultural reasons linked to the relatively rapid expansion of Linearbandkeramik (LBK) groups that inhibited diversification of crops until later in the Neolithic.
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