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Anthropology/cultural divergence


Hi. I'm writing a fantasy novel and in the story the three main nations originally come from one culture (which collapsed about 3,000 years before the story takes place). At this point, they have different religions, languages, customs etc after having migrated over an area roughly the size of Europe. Would three-thousand years be enough for this kind of cultural divergence to take place?

This is plenty of time for such cultural divergence to occur, all the more so if the collapse involved a big reduction of population size over a large area.  that sort of this causes "founder effects" -divergences (cultural and genetic) among populations, ie., reductions in the pool of information a society retains (fewer minds, less information.  So, if one region looses, say, its blacksmiths and its Jewish people, then the information particular to that craft and that religious tradition would likely not survive in one region.
Best wishes for success in your writing.
John Shea
PS: Sorry for the delay, I have been traveling and had some computer problems while on the road.


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John Shea


Questions about Old World prehistoric archaeology (especially Stone Age) of Europe, Africa, and Western Asia, prehistoric human and hominid behavior, primitive technology, origin of modern humans, extinction of the Neandertals. IMPORTANT: Between February 14 and September 01, 2014, I will be on sabbatical leave. During this time I will have limited access to email. This means that there may be very long periods (i.e., weeks) between your posting a question and my having time to answer it.


>20 years as a professional anthropologist based at a research university.

Journal of Field Archaeology, Journal of Archaeological Science, Lithic Technology, Evolutionary Anthropology, Current Anthropology, Mitekufat HaEven (Journal of the Israel Prehistoric Society), Paléorient, Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan, American Anthropologist, Geoarchaeology.

Ph.D (Anthropology) Harvard University, 1991.
BA (Archaeology) Boston University, 1982.

Awards and Honors
Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer 2012-2014

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