• Cranial variables;
  • European populations;
  • Spatial autocorrelation;
  • Geographic variation;
  • Linguistic-morphometric correlations


This study reports on spatial variation of 10 cranial variables in European populations at 3 time periods. Means for these variables, based on 137, 108, and 183 samples from the Early Medieval, Late Medieval, and Recent periods, were subjected to one-dimensional and directional spatial autocorrelation analyses. Significant spatial structure was found for most variables. It becomes more pronounced as time progresses. The spatial patterns are not strongly clinal. Correlograms based on distances computed from all variables are monotonic only to 900, 1,650, and 1,350 km for the three periods. Regional patterns are seen for most variables and become more structured and significant with time. There is little similarity among the correlograms of the variables at any one period and virtually none among periods. Inferences about spatial structure of these populations, based on spatial autocorrelation analysis, suggest a pattern dominated by migration, followed by expansion and admixture rather than selection or chance fluctuations. The patterns of morphometric change seem to reflect the patterns of linguistic change in these areas.