Peopling the World

Steven Mithen

in The Oxford Handbook of Archaeology

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780199271016
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

 Peopling the World

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  • Classical Studies
  • Historical Archaeology


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This article aims to provide an overview of the first movements of people into the major land masses of the world. It reviews two phases of population dispersal out of Africa: that by the hominins which began two million years ago and that by Homo sapiens about 150,000 years ago. It considers the contractions of populations caused by the last glacial maximum followed by the recolonization of lands once the climate ameliorated and then the peopling of the far north and addresses the peopling of the Americas and the Pacific Islands.

Keywords: population dispersal; land masses; Africa; hominins; Homo sapiens; glacial maximum; Americas; Pacific Islands

Article.  13741 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Historical Archaeology

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