The BEAN Initial Training Network – Bridging the European and Anatolian Neolithic: Demography, migration, and lifestyle at the advent of civilisation – is an EU-funded project (Marie Curie Actions, Framework Programme 7). It aims to provide state-of-the-art training of early-stage researchers in the scientific disciplines of Prehistoric Archaeology, Physical Anthropology, Paleogenomics, Computer Simulations and Modelling.

Training opportunities are embedded within a research programme which investigates the key issue of European Neolithisation – the transition from mobile foraging to sedentary farming. The advent of the Neolithic marks the beginning of novel lifeways centred on plant cultivation, animal domestication and the construction of more permanent dwellings; it correlates with the first major increase of human population. BEAN tackles fundamental questions surrounding the spread of cultural and biological components of the Neolithic from Anatolia to Europe.

Researchers from different fields develop complementary approaches to explore this issue. Physical anthropologists and demographers in Belgrade and Paris are investigating the biological and behavioural correlations of the Neolithic Demographic Transition, as well as the mode and the tempo of the expansion of Neolithic settlements. Archaeologists in Istanbul and London analyse ceramic technology and raw material to reconstruct complex networks of economic, social and cultural exchanges. Geneticists in Mainz and Dublin use mitochondrial, nuclear, and Y-chromosome data to infer population movements and demographic processes. Computer scientists in London and Geneva integrate cultural and genetic datasets into a robust statistical framework to evaluate competing hypotheses for the diffusion of cultural and biological components of the Neolithic.

14 academic, research and commercial institutions from 9 countries are currently involved in the project:

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, University of Belgrade, University of Geneva, University College London, CNRS, Istanbul University, Democritus University of Thrace, OREA - Institut für Orientalische und Europäische Archäologie, Ege University, Trinity College Dublin, Destatis, GATC Biotech AG, OTI Holding, Springer Publishing.

Further information on the BEAN project is available at:

Download BEAN workshop programme