In Great Britain and in Ireland, two conflicting models of neolithisation have been proposed. One, that is based on the assumption that indigenous late Mesolithic groups were in contact with Continental farmers (as in the case of the Ertebølle culture in Denmark), proposes a slow acculturation process; but there is no archaeological proof that this had been the case. The other contemplated several successive episodes of colonization of these islands by small communities coming from the Continent (and allows for the subsequent - and apparently rapid - acculturation of indigenous communities as a result of contacts with these newcomers). It is this last model which we defend and which is described here, using the most up to date archaeological data. We hope to provide a balanced assessment of the evidence for colonization against a background of Late Mesolithic technology, material culture and subsistence strategies, and to highlight the fundamental differences which exist between these last groups of hunter-gatherer-fishers and the first pastoral communities in terms of economytechnology and ideology. In order to locate the likely origins of our hypothetical colonists, we examine the evidence on both sides of the sea for each strand of neolithisation
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