Inference for population dynamics in the Neolithic period. (English) Zbl 1257.62117

Summary: We consider parameter estimation for the spread of the Neolithic incipient farming across Europe using radiocarbon dates. We model the arrival time of farming at radiocarbon-dated, early Neolithic sites by a numerical solution to an advancing wavefront. We allow for (technical) uncertainty in the radiocarbon data, lack-of-fit of the deterministic model and use a Gaussian process to smooth spatial deviations from the model. Inference for the parameters in the wavefront model is complicated by the computational cost required to produce a single numerical solution. We therefore employ Gaussian process emulators for the arrival time of the advancing wavefront at each radiocarbon-dated site. We validate our model using predictive simulations.


62P12 Applications of statistics to environmental and related topics
62M99 Inference from stochastic processes
65C40 Numerical analysis or methods applied to Markov chains
65C60 Computational problems in statistics (MSC2010)
Full Text: DOI arXiv Euclid


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