I’ve been thinking about the colonization of Europe by Middle Eastern farmers – light-skinned, dark-eyed guys pushing aside dark-skinned, blue-eyed hunters. The movement took two paths – one into the Balkans and up the Danube, another by sea, along the north coast of the Med. The populations in those two paths must have had a common origin: the earliest pottery in Albania and Italy is is related to that of the Starcevo culture in the southern Balkans. Better yet, we know that the two populations were genetically close, similar to modern Sardinians. Likely, they spoke related languages.
The stone-age farmers in the northern path (which led to the LBK culture) grew emmer and einkorn wheat, barley, and lentils. As they moved into the Balkans, they picked up broomcorn millet, not in the original Southwest Asian toolkit. They raised cattle, pigs, goats, and old-fashioned sheep (not yet wooly). The settlers in the southern path had a similar kind of agriculture – but with tetraploid wheats, and without broomcorn.
Both hunters and farmers had stone tools, no metals, no horses.
Archaeology can only tell us so much. Genetics, especially ancient DNA, can tell us more: but there’s a reason that we call it prehistory.
I’m wondering what we can deduce about the advent of farming ( and farmers) in Europe from similar expansions that occurred ( at least in part) within the window of written history.