image/svg+xml169 VIII/2/2017 InterdIscIplInarIa archaeologIca natural scIences In archaeology homepage: Book reviews Volume VIII ● Issue 2/2017 ● Pages 169–172 The Oxford Handbook of Neolithic Europe. Chris Fowler, Jan Harding and Daniela Hofmann (Eds.)Oxford University Press (2015), Oxford, UK, 1166 pp., ISBN 978-0-19954584-1processes of Neolitization, especially in the Balkans and Central Europe, followed by the chapters dealing with the phenomenon of households and burials, and, fnally, the chapters connected methodologically with the scientifc methods used in archaeology, including economy, subsistence and bioarchaeology. 2. Mobility, Change, and Interaction at a Large Scale The second conceptual part (Part II) of the handbook starts with Tony Brown, Geof Bailley and Dave Passmore’s chapter called Environments and Landscape Change . It describes the fundamental natural constraints that had shaped the European landscape in the period contemporary with the process of Neolitization and the Neolithic period. Despite some scarcity and lack of information about the development of vegetation cover, the authors ofer a detailed picture of climate trends including deterioration events, which afected societies several times in the Neolithic period. The chapter is actually a very good outline of the natural and anthropogenic processes that framed transitional Neolithic/Mesolithic economies and early agricultural societies in Europe. The description is not only environmental, but partially and also surprisingly theoretical in the way of environmental and landscape archaeology approaches that encompass such phenomena as symbolic spaces, high altitude environments and the potential skyscapes seen by humans in forested and open landscapes.Part II then continues with a thematic section called “Movement of Plants, Animals, Ideas, and People”. It includes fve chapters that describe the general trends of movements in Neolithic Europe. Johannes Müller in his chapter Movement of Plants, Animals, Ideas, and People in South-East Europe describes the Neolithic and Chalcolithic period in the Balkans and Carpathian basin. He follows the social and economic changes during Neolitization and the introduction of copper metallurgy that came along later. The frst part discusses the possibilities and ways of Neolithization in southeast Europe. It tracks the areas through the evidence of the frst Neolithic elements, diferences between Mesolithic foragers and Neolithic farmers, and seeks to fnd confrmation of the interactions within these two social systems and populations.This issue is followed by Jean Guilaine in his chapter The Neolitization of Mediterranean Europe. Mobility and Interactions from the Near East to the Iberian Penisula . In successive steps he describes the expansion of the Neolithic lifestyle: frst of all in the Near East continued by the spread of the Neolithic mode of life in the Mediterranean basin. Making three points, Guilaine suggests various hypotheses about the reasons for the abandonment of the Levantine region. He discusses the issues of demographic growth, social stress and the environmental aspect. By the heterogeneity of pottery styles, and some other indexes such as settlement organization and hierarchy, kinds of burials, decoration, and frequency of fgurines and ritual artefacts, this chapter highlights the diferences between the Near East and Western Mediterranean (Cardial style). Guilaine explains that “Neolitization was not a single difusion …” and points to the “periodic breaks in its spread and the cultural transformation of the original model” .Wolfram Schier in the chapter on Central and Eastern Europe rather traditionally describes (once again) the basic question of Neolitization in Central Europe: was it demic difusion or a spread of ideas? Or even something more complicated? Probably yes, as witnessed today by ‘molecular archaeology’. Schier comments on the diferent arguments of continuity and discontinuity in the archaeological record. Current data tend to support that of the Neolithic economy spreading by demic difusion around 5600 BC and thus against ‘transmission of ideas’; however, Shier suggests one way to integrate both models as do the majority of chapter authors in this 1. Introduction The topic of this huge volume, with as many as a thousand pages, is Neolithic Europe – as seen through the eyes of archaeology and some closely-related disciplines. As the book’s preface informs us, it comprises the work of over seventy authors from more than forty-fve institutions in ffteen separate countries. The handbook is divided into four parts. The frst part (Part I) is an introduction written by the book’s editors Chris Fowler, Jan Harding and Daniela Hofmann, explaining the purpose and goals of the book, describing the topics of particular chapters and thematic sections and ofering some basic explanation. With such a huge number of chapters, it is difcult and perhaps inappropriate to comment on every text in this review. We have decided to concentrate our attention on three areas of interest. These are the