Inference for population dynamics in the Neolithic period
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.