September 13, 2013

Basque and other European origins according to ancient mtDNA

This is a (partly shortened) version of an article I wrote recently in Spanish language for Ama Ata.

For reasons of the variegated methodology used by the various researchers this comparison across time and space has to be simplified. Still it is a valuable insight on the demographic changes produced in the Neolithic and later on in three European regions: Germany, Portugal and the Basque Country. 


Germany

As you surely know already, the results of archaeogenetic sequencing in Central Europe have produced quite perplexing results: not just the Neolithic wave seems to have caused major changes but also this one was victim of similarly radical later changes in the demography. Visually:


The first period when we see an mtDNA pool similar to the modern one is already in the Late Bronze Age. However we lack data for all the early and middle Bronze Age and the data of the late Chalcolithic already points to the components of this modern pool being present, albeit in a very fragmented form. If anything there was still excess of L(xR), i.e. N(xR). 

This late Chalcolithic and Bronze Age knot of Central European demographic history is still to be solved. But something we can already say for sure: the Neolithic wave was of dramatic consequences in this region but itself was wiped out by later, still ill understood, secondary waves.


Portugal

This area is not so well documented, however the data we do have still provide a very interesting sequence of the demographic history of SW or West Iberia. Visually again:


One of the problems here is, quite evidently, that sequencing only the HVS-I region is not at all enough to identify some very important haplogroups, particularly H. We can reasonably think however that most or even all of the R* sequences are actually H.

We see some but not-so-radical changes with the arrival of Neolithic: some apparent decrease of U (halved) and L(xR), a +33% growth of H and first detection of HV0 (probably V). However these changes seem to have been partly countered by Chalcolithic, plausibly by means of blending between first farmers and more purely aboriginal populations. Overall I am very much tempted to think that the arrival of Neolithic to (South and Central) Portugal only caused mild demic changes. 

This fact, together with the extremely high frequencies of haplogroup H and the key role played by SW Iberia in the formation of Dolmenic Megalithism, as well as their pivotal role in Bell Beaker, including the existence of a major civilization (Zambujal, VNSP), the first one ever in Atlantic Europe, makes this area highly suspect as a possible origin for the spread of mtDNA H in Western Europe to the frequencies that we find today (c. 40-50%).

However we have only very limited archaeogenetic data from other Atlantic Megalithic regions and in general from Megalithic burials and it is at least possible that Armorica (Brittany, West France) or Denmark and the nearby Low Germany regions played important roles in this spread, which we see so dramatically exemplified in the German Bell Beaker sample. 

When the finger points to the Moon, the fool looks at the finger. Portugal could be the Moon but it may just be the finger, so I will remain cautious at this stage of research. Whatever the case it does seem to me that Megalithism is a likely source of that excess H (Bell Beaker being just the finger here, almost for sure).

I must add that there seem to be some important demic changes since Chalcolithic in Portugal. Tentatively I will attribute them to the intrusive SW Iberian "horizons" (proto-Tartessian?) and/or the Luso-Celtic invasions of the Iron Age. 


Basque Country

My main aim in all this compilation was, as in a sense in all my diving into prehistoric research for so many years now, to find an answer to the mystery of the origin of Basques and Basque language. 

In the last few years we have been blessed with some important and revealing archaeogenetic research in this area, and therefore I could build also an informative graph for the Basque Country:


Very synthetically, I think that we can see here, much as in Portugal, some not too radical changes with the Neolithic arrival, and then relative stability until present day. This is coherent with the Basque Country not having suffered effective Indoeuropean invasions, unlike Portugal.

However I strongly feel the need to look at the fine detail in the Basque Neolithic transition, because it has some interesting question marks:


Seen as that, it would seem like the Neolithic-induced demic change was more important in Navarre and less in the Western Basque Country. However the two Ebro basin sequences (both Fuente Hoz and Los Cascajos) are very high in U* and low in U5, which is so far the only U subclade sequenced in the Paleolithic of the Basque-Cantabrian area. At this point I do not really know how to interpret this fact nor even what kind of U sublineage is that one.

What I do know is that, on one side, the Biscay-Gipuzkoan area seems to have been initially unaffected by Neolithic demic waves and that the Paternabidea sequence is very very similar to modern day Basque average (and even more in its own sub-region).

It is very possible that the Basque periphery, notably the Ebro banks, suffered more intense demic changes than the core Basque areas of the piedmont. However, when compared with other European regions (very especially Central Europe) the Basque genetic pool seems quite stable since Neolithic times. 


Is Basque language Neolithic?

Even if genetics and language need not to be tightly related, of course, the question of the origin of Basque language and the proposed Vasconic language family, believed to have been spoken in much of Europe at some point in Prehistory, are indeed related to the genetic origin of the Basque people. 

There are four main models for the origin of Basque and Vasconic:
  1. Magdalenian (Paleolithic) origin in the Franco-Cantabrian region some 17-15,000 years ago (incl. possible sub-waves like Tardenoisian/geometric Epipaleolithic).
  2. Neolithic origin.
  3. Megalithic origin.
  4. More or less recent (Iron Age?) arrival, defended by mostly by the fanatics of Indoeuropean continuity. 

We can safely discard #4 only based on archaeology but the genetic aspect seems to add even more weight to this dismissal, after all it is Indoeuropean speaking peoples the ones which show obvious signs of demic change, sometimes very dramatic, not Basques.

Personally, and with due caution, I would also cast doubt on #1, partly because the Vasconic substrate area seems to include strongly many parts of Italy like Sardinia, in principle unaffected by the Magdalenian expansion, and I would also include at least to some extent parts of the Balcans (for example the Ibar river in Kosovo). 

So I am rather inclined for model #2, i.e. that Vasconic was the language family spoken by European Neolithic peoples with roots in Thessaly (pre-Sesklo→Mediterranean Neolithic, proto-Sesklo→Balcano-Danubian Neolithic). I cannot of course exclude a possible re-expansion of some of those languages within the Atlantic Megalithic phenomenon, which I would deem responsible of the expansion of much of mtDNA H up to modern frequencies, however I doubt this one is the source because it is difficult to explain the presence of Vasconic in many pockets in which Megalithism was at best very secondary or did not exist at all (for example most of the Ancient Iberian area, Sardinia, the Balcans, etc.)

So my tentative proposal is that there was a root Vasconic spoken some 9000 years ago in Thessaly (Northern Greece), which split (as per archaeology) in two branches:
  • Southern or Western Vasconic (Impressed-Cardium Pottery and related cultures, including the Megalithic urheimat in Portugal). 
  • Northern or Eastern Vasconic (Red-White Painted Ware in the Balcans and later Linear Pottery in Central Europe).
Basque, ancient Sardinian, Iberian and the hypothetical lingua franca associated to Megalithism would belong to Southern Vasconic. Danubian Neolithic peoples would have spoken Northern Vasconic instead but, as we can see, they were eventually all but wiped out by secondary arrivals from West and East. Even the very Balcanic core areas of Thessaly, Macedonia and Serbia also suffered an invasion early on by peoples with Beige-Black pottery (Vinca-Dimini) surely related to Tell Halaf. So the main survivor to the Metal Ages was Southern (Western) Vasconic, which was then wiped out (excepted Basque) by the Indoeuropean invasions of Celtic and Italic peoples. 

We can still see fossils however. One of my favorite examples is the Latin particle bi- (as in bilateral, bilingual, etc.), which seems derived from Vasconic bi (two, at least in modern Basque) and unrelated to PIE *dwos. Also the English words kill and ill, which seem related to Basque verb hil(-du) (pronounced /hill/ or /ill/ and meaning to die or to kill, depending on how you conjugate it). Again both English terms do not have any apparent PIE origins, although they may derive from proto-Germanic. These are just examples, of course, there seems to be much more to be researched.


Appendix: detail of the data and bibliography: LINK.

54 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Hmm, isn't this expansion model similar with what I said the other day, with 2 paths, one going by coast and other following the Danube river basin?

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    1. Sorry I can't recall what you said.

      The model is that of the most general European Neolithic spread, rather well documented archaeologically (although more confuse for the Atlantic facade, where many small and original groups popped up, more or less influenced by these - or not).

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  3. When I talked to you that time, you said that the earliest groups, by coast, were found in Italy. So, a coastal route was something like too simple to be correct, or so I understood.

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    1. The original discussion is here: http://forwhattheywereweare.blogspot.com/2013/07/a-review-of-haplogroup-n-y-dna.html

      You said:

      "Also, as for the change of the non covering enough of the area, because when both branches of Vasconic arrived, they diverged enough so that some culutural differences were noticeable".

      And I said:

      "In an oversimplistic world, they should... but the issue is much more complex than just two well defined branches. Cardium proper is almost restricted to the Western Mediterranean shores but Cardium-related groups (Epicardial in the loosest possible sense) is widespread and would include much of Germany (La Hoguette), overlapping with West Danubian. Never mind all Atlantic Neolithic cultures, which are diverse and only in a very forced way (or not at all) can be related with Cardium or Danubian.".

      What is also true but more nuanced. There's no necessary contradiction just extra (but very real) complexity.

      Our main difference seems to be that you were oversimplifying and arguing for mass replacement, and I was reclaiming the real complexity and questioning mass demic replacement as something too real in many cases.

      Not sure: it is a lenghty discussion, if you wish to "reclaim" it here, please make clear your point and do not make me work going forth and back from thread to thread like a bumblebee.

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  4. Nice work.

    Not sure about a common Thessaly origin for both Neolithic movements - I have always thought of Cardium being related to the extreme northern Levant and the adjacent SW Anatolia/ Cyprus, while the LBK origin might be related to NW Anatolia / Thrace, which were directly connected, then, and basically harbored identical climate and resources.

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    1. "Not sure about a common Thessaly origin for both Neolithic movements - I have always thought of Cardium being related to the extreme northern Levant and the adjacent SW Anatolia/ Cyprus"...

      Nope. Cardium originates as far as archaeology can discern in proto-Sesklo via Epirus (and then Albania, Dalmatia, etc.) Cardium style pottery is found in Lebanon (a late phase of the Biblos facies of the Amuq-Biblos culture) but long after it spread through the Central and Western Mediterranean: that is NOT the origin.

      Of course both Painted and Cardium styles MIGHT have precursors in West Asia but this is extremely hard to discern at this point, among other reasons because Thessalian pottery is one of the oldest of the Western World (probably not the oldest one but almost so), so it's very possible that what has been found, very occasionally in Hacilar (related to pre-Sesklo/Sesklo?) and elsewhere are backflows from Greece and not really precursors. This is certainly the case of the Biblos Cardium Pottery: whatever it means it is a cultural flow from Greece, not into Greece.

      "while the LBK origin might be related to NW Anatolia / Thrace, which were directly connected, then, and basically harbored identical climate and resources".

      There is still a lot to learn from Turkish Neolithic I guess but, with present knowledge that remains extremely speculative. Based on what we know, all non-native European Neolithic is derived from the Thessalian one.

      Now, if you can present new evidence... sure I'd be interesting to know about the relations between the Early European Neolithic of Thessaly and its West Asian peers. But I want reasonable certainty, not "ecological" speculations, really.

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    2. I think LBK and Cardim had the same origin or father culture. The reason is 6 Y DNA samples from Cardium in northern Spain from 7,000ybp 5 had G2a and one had E1b1b V13. 3 y DNa samples from 7,000ybp in LBk Germany one had G2a3 L30 and two had at least F one was X for all of its decendants the other could have been any of its decendants. Overall Y DNa G2a is dominte in Neloithic western European samples. in southwesrn france even Otzie a random farmer found in alps Italy.

      Also Aust DNA right now i am atlking about globe13. Otzie and 5,000 year old farmer in south swedan rpobably came out of central Europe so around LBk. Both had almost identical results. the group the call med was dominate it spread to Europe with farming same with southwest Asian and west asian except extra came to Italy and southeast Europe during the GReco Roman age. Since med in Europe is most dominate in Iberia so apart of Cardum world.and that 7,000 year old hunter gather in north spain who lived by farmer but he had majority north Euro in globe13 so high it is only found in Finnish and far northeastern Europeans that the med in Iberia is Neloithic. I hope u get what i am saying LBK and Cardiel in ancestry probably had the same origin. Maybe the same for all Farming cultures that spread acroos Europe. maybe they had a father culture in Antolia.

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    3. Maju,

      We know that the pulses, grains, and fruit trees are non-native to Greece and of Southern Anatolian or Levantine origin. Likewise the domesticated animals derive from there, unless you want to argue that they were basically the same, in Greece (highly unlikely).

      There is no question that the Aegean culture was maritime; pre-neolithic they were able to cross to all islands and fish in deep water. Clearly, the Aegean must have had trade going on for a long time, and I see no reason why the culture and practices would have been much different to that of the South coast of Anatolia and the adjacent Levant, where people easily crossed to Cyprus and settled Crete at about the same time. Perhaps all these were even the same people. BTW, Sesklo (or rather the nearby Volos) is a doubly-safe natural port and the only one with access to the adjacent fertile plains.

      When agricultural items arrive in Greece, they are clearly from S. Anatolia/ Levant, and come in steps (non-native pulses, fruit trees and grains, finally animals). Almost simultaneous to Sesklo and before anything that can be called Starcevo, there are settlements on Corfu and at the adjacent Adriatic - and you can only get there by boat. And then Cardium continues from there along the Mediterranean cost as a maritime-agricultural culture.

      On the flip side, the climate in Thrace is more similar to that of NW Anatolia and to that of the Balkans; ~3 months of frost versus very mild S Greek winters @ +6C to 8C ave. min. and much more summer rain), and people could use the land way to get there (certainly easier for large-scale animal transport; there are no mountain passes to traverse - just slightly elevated plains at 200-400m).

      I agree that for now it is very hard to say where the exact origin of pottery is, but I don't think it even matters for this discussion. Pottery is such a useful development for an agricultural population that, in these highly interconnected regions, it would have spread like a wildfire - perhaps too quickly to be of diagnostic value, there and then.

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    4. I'm not saying that Greek Neolithic does not have Anatolian or other West Asian influences, I'm just saying that there is no specific well defined precursor of it, so there's a lot of room to speculate about the details involved in the formation of Thessalian Neolithic. Instead for most other (non-Eastern) European Neolithic, the ultimate Thessalian roots are obvious. So Thessaly is the key location, the fundamental knot and seed of European Neolithic, or at least so it seems. Relations further East are yet to be well understood, although no doubt they must have existed.

      "... unless you want to argue that they were basically the same, in Greece (highly unlikely)".

      I had not thought about it but now you mention the King of Rome... there's no reason why they should be different: there was no barrier between Thrace and Anatolia before some 7500 years ago, it seems: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sea_deluge_hypothesis

      ... and the climate was about the same.

      Just saying anyhow. It was not my point.

      What I say is that before 9000 BP there was Neolithic with Pottery (and both types of pottery later expanded via the continental and maritime routes through Europe, with whatever variations) in Thessaly.

      Incidentally, this is older than Pre-Pottery Neolithic B, which is the first certain Neolithic culture of the Levant. PPNA is probably not yet farmer but transitional, mostly large scale sedentary forager.

      Pottery Neolithic in West Asia is quite clearly more recent than in Europe: the first Pottery Neolithic is dated to c. 8,400 BP, what is about a thousand years more recent than in Thessaly.

      The most interesting site in Asia is Hacilar, near Burdur (SW Anatolia), because the dates are very old also c. 9000 BP, although seemingly not as old as those of Thessaly, and its decorative style (later periods?) is similar to that of Sesklo and proto-Sesklo. But the chronology does suggest a W→E flow and not an E→W one.

      Only Çatalhöyuk seems old enough to be at pair with Thessaly but even if it has some possibly related conceptual elements to Hacilar and Sesklo ("mother goddess" ideas maybe), other elements such as house urbanism are very different. I do not have clear if their pottery is as old as that of Thessaly. Jarmo, like Hacilar is a bit more recent. Then there is this newly discovered Neolithic area of Luristan (http://forwhattheywereweare.blogspot.com.es/2013/07/new-evidence-from-luristan-reveals-that.html) but the dates of actual domestication are imprecise and there's not pottery again.

      So IMO there's absolutely no reason to exclude Thessaly from the wider region of Neolithic development in the Western Old World: it actually seems quite important on its own right, holding probably the oldest pottery in the whole subcontinental region and showing agricultural development since very early. Of course we do not know everything and must remain open but there is no particularly strong reason to insist on West Asian origin of European Neolithic as something unilateral and unqualified.

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  5. I'm also inclined to see the Basque language as the last remnant of the language of farmers in Neolithic Europe who would consequently suffer a newest wave of migrations (i.e. Indo-Europeans).

    Autosomal studies are also quite clear on that aspect though less rigorous than mitochondrial ones : Basque-speaking people totally lack the "Caucasian" component popping in most European populations which gets its maximum in Caucasian populations.

    Unsurprisingly enough, populations showing low results in that component(Sardinians, Gascon people, Iberians, ...) are also areas where a pre-indo-european substrate akin to modern Basque is proved, before romanization.

    Undoubtedly enough, we cannot discard the Basque language to be of European Paleolithic origin ultimately but IMO it would be much stranger : languages are very dynamic and easily replace each other.



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    1. Basque are special that they kept their native language even though they where conquered by Celts because they have 80% Italo Celtic R1b P312. We know who their ancestors where the Aquitenne who are mentioned by Ceasar.

      Here is a quote of Ceasar talking about the people of Gaul or around Gaul
      All Gaul is divided into three parts, one of which the Belgae inhabit, the Aquitani another, those who in their own language are called Celts, in ours Gauls, the third.
      All these differ from each other in language, customs and laws.
      The Garonne River separates the Gauls from the Aquitani; the River Marne and the River Seine separate them from the Belgae.
      Of all these, the Belgae are the bravest, because they are furthest from the civilisation and refinement of (our) Province, and merchants least frequently resort to them, and import those things which tend to effeminate the mind; and they are the nearest to the Germani, who dwell beyond the Rhine, with whom they are continually waging war; for which reason the Helvetii also surpass the rest of the Gauls in valour, as they contend with the Germani in almost daily battles, when they either repel them from their own territories, or themselves wage war on their frontiers. One part of these, which it has been said that the Gauls occupy, takes its beginning at the River Rhone; it is bounded by the Garonne River, the Atlantic Ocean, and the territories of the Belgae; it borders, too, on the side of the Sequani and the Helvetii, upon the River Rhine, and stretches toward the north.
      The Belgae rises from the extreme frontier of Gaul, extend to the lower part of the River Rhine; and look toward the north and the rising sun.
      Aquitania extends from the Garonne to the Pyrenees and to that part of the Atlantic (Bay of Biscay) which is near Spain: it looks between the setting of the sun, and the north star.

      They defintley had Celtic influnce they where surrounded by Celts in Iberia and Gaul. And Hallstatt Celtic culture actulley looking at Archaeology took up all of Aquitaine. The Basque are kind of isolate though so they are somewhat unique. In globe13 aust dna the only group to be from pre Neolithic Europe is North Euro the group they call med was the main to come in the Neolithic we have ancient samples to prove what i am saying.

      Basque besides sardine have the highest. So Basque ancestry defintley is very Neolithic(but like all Europeans mainly Paleolithic) there is no way their language goes back to the Mesolithic or Paleolithic age.

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  6. I organized what they had on ancient Eurasian DNA. and Neolithic European mtDNA period totaly shows continuity with modern Europeans. mtDNA H over 35%(H1 and H3 main subclades). Main haplogroups overall H, T, K, U, J no in any specfic order just naming them. U5 being the main U subclade. T2 being almost the only T subclade and T2b after that. K1 being the almost only K subclade. Everything total shows their source of mtDNA is the same source of modern Europeans. If that means mtDNA in all of Europe is the same source it could be random i think we need to look at deep subclades.

    I have said this to so many people. No matter how u but it we know Europeans mainly decend from pre Neloithic Europeans. Because of their palenss. Finnish who have very little med which came in Neloithic in globe13 test and farming never really spread that far north pretty much they have probably extremely little Neloithic ancestry. But their actulley the palest Europeans.

    All of u should look at Origin of European palness i made it
    http://www.theapricity.com/forum/showthread.php?92883-Origin-of-European-Paleness(skin-hair-and-eye-color)

    I get sick of all mtDNA we need to understand it can tell us the full story. We need to somehow get some Y DNA and austomal DNA.

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  7. @Barak: as I told you elsewhere, you are out of this blog. I need no Nordocentric redneck patronizing here.

    I'm not reading anymore of your dogmatic and highly racialized comments and I will delete any future ones. Fare well.

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  8. Ha, nice! Maju, I really enjoy your blog, as I suffer a major addiction to ancient history. Just wanted to ask if you think perhaps your postulated "Northern or Eastern Vasconic" might have become the Georgian language? It seems I've read that LBK wave of agricultural colonization had a lot of y-chrom. G, which is of course very common in the western Caucasus today. Also, it seems to me there may have been some famines/strife in Germany ca. 5000 BC, after which there was an LBK exodus back east, contributing to the Cucuteni-Trypillian...and perhaps beyond to Colchis? One more question, if you don't mind...one of your threads mentioned Vasconic toponyms in Sardinia, and I noticed one was "Ulassai"--which struck me as being stunningly close to Ulysses! What would be the Basque cognate? Thanks!

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    1. My proposal is that both branches have a common origin in Thessaly, further connections elsewhere in West Asia or Europe (or wherever) are not considered but should be the same for both.

      I don't know much of the details but something that Heraus mentions in the discussion above is that, per Dienekes study with "zombie" populations (pre-selected components that may, or not, approach ancient real populations), Basques and Sardinians lack or almost the Caucasus component (which is AFAIK the Highland or North West Asia one, just that is better preserved towards the mountains), what seems contradict any notion of connection with the Caucasus but I can't say.

      My very limited incursions into mass lexical comparison anyhow suggest that the closest language family to Basque (and therefore Vasconic in general) seems to be Indoeuropean and only later NE Caucasian would cluster with both (at higher phylogenetic levels), I also compared Dravidian which seems more distant, although could still be related to all them into some sort of macro-Western (I presume that Dravidian is the main Neolithic language family of South Asia, with some West Asian affinities).

      But in any case, my hypothesis postulates that both branches of Vasconic would stem from the same source some 8-9,000 years ago and that source was in Thessaly (AFAIK). It would explain the apparent presence of Vasconic in Central and Northern Europe, a cornerstone of Venneman's model. However I guess one could argue for both branches being not too related and the expansion of Vasconic northwards would correspond to Dolmenic Megalithism only, what may be supported by the genetic data analyzed above (very little H before Bell Beaker and not original from IE-Kurgan expansion). I guess that could be an acceptable variant hypothesis and I have no idea on how to test one against the other.

      "It seems I've read that LBK wave of agricultural colonization had a lot of y-chrom. G, which is of course very common in the western Caucasus today".

      I'd blame Anatolia for that rather than the Caucasus as such. Same for other "Caucasus" genetic affinities, which are invariably dominant also in Anatolia, Kurdistan and Iran, although they seem more diluted now.

      "Also, it seems to me there may have been some famines/strife in Germany ca. 5000 BC, after which there was an LBK exodus back east"...

      Certainly there was a quite dramatic population contraction in Central European LBK around : http://forwhattheywereweare.blogspot.com/2013/06/revisiting-demographics-of-northern-and.html

      I haven't explored the possibility that it is related to Cucuteni and the other Eastern Balcanic Danubian influence (Boian, etc.) Do the dates match so well? They do match at the very least, although I wonder if it has more to do with the formation of Lengyel culture in the core Danubian area of Austria-Hungary-Moravia. Interesting meditation in any case, thanks.

      ... "and perhaps beyond to Colchis?"

      Never heard of a Danubian nor Cucuteni influence in the Caucasus. Rather very early Indoeuropean flows.

      Notice that the claim of Basque-Kartvelian language relationship doesn't seem to stand at all (nobody knowledgeable I know takes it seriously anymore).

      ...

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    2. ...

      "One more question, if you don't mind...one of your threads mentioned Vasconic toponyms in Sardinia, and I noticed one was "Ulassai"--which struck me as being stunningly close to Ulysses! What would be the Basque cognate?"

      The thread must be this one: http://forwhattheywereweare.blogspot.com/2011/03/paleo-sardinian-language-relative-of.html

      I do not know what exactly could mean in Basque (that's one of the less obvious ones) but surely has uli- (city, a Mediterranean and Asian wanderwort in several forms) and the common ending -ai (-aia, -aio) meaning rock, peak (Spanish "peña" is a better approach to meaning: a rocky hill or mountain).

      I never before explored the possible etymology of Ulysses, unlike Aeneas-Eneko-Iñigo-Angus, which could be related to the Minoan wanaka: king and therefore have a Bronze Age origin in the West, notice that in Pictish and Basque semi-mythical history these are names of founder monarchs whose real existence is unclear. But if Ulysses has pre-IE roots, it's likely that it has some relation to this city-meaning wanderwort variedly found as ili, iri, uli or uri in the Mediterranean (also Latin urbs) and as uru in Sumer and Dravidian. It's clearly attested in Iberian and Basque but also in many toponyms all through the Mediterranean: Iriko (Jericho), Irisalem (Jerusalem), Ilion (Troy), Ellis, the Latin word urbs, and a long etcetera. Now I have no idea what the suffix -sses might mean, if anything. Maybe it meant in Mycenean Greece something like "city chief", who knows?

      "I really enjoy your blog"

      Thanks a lot. While I admit that I write mostly from my own motivation, it's clear that having readers who enjoy it helps a lot. Otherwise it would be a bit pointless, I guess.

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    3. BTW, not just LBK farmers carried Y-DNA G2a, also Cardium Pottery ones: so far two G2a lineages (plus Ötzi), one I2a and one E1b-V13. In general I'd say that the Neolithic lineages seem to be these plus J2b (so far unattested in ancient DNA AFAIK but not enough data to judge) and also some F* found in Central European LBK and now very rare.

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    4. Ulysses is the latinized form of Odysseus. The d ->l change may look weird, but is common in Latin (see dakryma -> lacrima: tear, or odor -> olere: to smell).

      Odysseus itself probably means something like: He who will suffer wrath.

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    5. I would like to reply as a poet to this one. Playing with words is the poet's perogative. Ancient peoples especially had fewer constraints of culture on how they might approach things. We already know that the ancient peoples were at least as intelligent and facile as we. There is nothing stopping the shift from Greek to Latin as described here AND also the relations that Maju points to as a matter of poetic wordplay. We assume the linguistic changes to be largely unconscious and beyond deliberate actions as a matter of convenience even though we have ample evidence that individuals such as Shakespeare make new words and word changes up of their own accord. Thus Odysseus--->Ulysses being a figure in epic poetry is also a possible suspect in some deliberate wordplay. As if this field was not difficult enough, it is simply the case that you cannot rule out conscious complications by artists. This is of course true all through the ancient artistic examples of all types. Moderns make fun and otherwise ape their own work. Why not the ancients?

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  9. "I haven't explored the possibility that it is related to Cucuteni and the other Eastern Balcanic Danubian influence (Boian, etc.) Do the dates match so well? They do match at the very least, although I wonder if it has more to do with the formation of Lengyel culture in the core Danubian area of Austria-Hungary-Moravia. Interesting meditation in any case, thanks."

    I seem to recall reading a more dramatic description in wikipedia a couple years ago, which seems to have been edited down to merely this, today:
    "During the early period of its existence (in the 5th millennium BC), the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture was also influenced by the Linear Pottery culture from the north, and by the Boian-Giulesti culture from the south.[4]" from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cucuteni-Trypillian_culture , with the reference [4] "[Dan] (2005), [The first Cucuteni museum for Romania] |trans-chapter= requires |chapter= (help), in Dumitroaia, Gheorghe, Primul muzeu Cucuteni din Romania, Bibliotheca memoriae antiquitatis XV (in Romanian), Piatra-Neamţ, Romania: Editura Foton, pp. 162–173, OCLC 319165024"


    "Never heard of a Danubian nor Cucuteni influence in the Caucasus. Rather very early Indoeuropean flows."

    In its later centuries (late 4th milennium B.C.) the Cucuteni-Trypillian was expanding eastward. Again from the same wikipedia article: "During the late period the Cucuteni-Trypillian territory expanded to include the Volyn region in northwest Ukraine, the Sluch and Horyn Rivers in northern Ukraine, and along both banks of the Dnieper river near Kiev. Members of the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture who lived along the coastal regions near the Black Sea came into contact with other cultures. Animal husbandry increased in importance, as hunting diminished; horses also became more important. The community transformed into a patriarchal structure. Outlying communities were established on the Don and Volga rivers in present-day Russia. Dwellings were constructed differently from previous periods, and a new rope-like design replaced the older spiral-patterned designs on the pottery. Different forms of ritual burial were developed where the deceased were interred in the ground with elaborate burial rituals. An increasingly larger number of Bronze Age artifacts originating from other lands were found as the end of the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture drew near.[4]"

    So this sounds like Cucuteni-Tripyllian was transitioning into an Indo-European-like culture. Maybe they also all switched to speaking IE, but then again, Cucuteni had been a HUGE (for those days) population of non-IE speakers, and I kind of thought some non-IE might have survived. Maykop culture seems to be a candidate for ancestral Kartvelians, and they had certainly taken up IE-like material culture. So I was, admittedly, taking the leap of connecting the increasingly IE-like (materially) late Cucuteni with the later Maykop. Also, I have long wondered if there was a southern branch of Cucuteni movement eastward, which would have merged with Cycladic/Anatolian cultures, resulting in Hattic and/or Minoan.

    "Notice that the claim of Basque-Kartvelian language relationship doesn't seem to stand at all (nobody knowledgeable I know takes it seriously anymore)."

    I had not realized this! I still thought Kartvelian was the overwhelming top candidate for relatedness to Basque. Well that certainly takes a lot of wind out of my theory.

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  10. "During the late period the Cucuteni-Trypillian territory expanded to include the Volyn region in northwest Ukraine, the Sluch and Horyn Rivers in northern Ukraine, and along both banks of the Dnieper river near Kiev".

    I was not privy to these details before now but, in any case, it'd be an expansion Northwards or Northeastwards rather than just "eastwards". Also those areas are very much far away from the Caucasus.

    "Outlying communities were established on the Don and Volga rivers in present-day Russia".

    Interesting. Again this is new to me.

    "Dwellings were constructed differently from previous periods, and a new rope-like design replaced the older spiral-patterned designs on the pottery".

    Influence of Kurgan cultures no doubt.

    "So this sounds like Cucuteni-Tripyllian was transitioning into an Indo-European-like culture".

    It does seem like they were being influenced by the early Indoeuropeans, which at that time began their expansion (Seredny-Stog II, Yamna). The small coastal strip of the Cucuteni area must have fallen to the Kurgan peoples very early on, as it was that way they entered into the Balcans: via the Danube Delta.

    "and I kind of thought some non-IE might have survived."

    Foltesti culture in Rumanian Moldavia was the last stand of Cucuteni peoples, extending into the Bronze Age. So, AFAIK, yes.

    "Maykop culture seems to be a candidate for ancestral Kartvelians"...

    I can't say for sure but it looks totally Kurgan and proto-Anatolian. Maykop is ancestral to Kura-Araxes and Catacombs Culture (probably). This one had no continuity as such (replaced by Yamna: proto-Indo-Iranians) but Kura-Araxes (Armenia, incl. the parts now annexed to Turkey and parts of Georgia) looks to me as ancestral to the Hittites and such.

    Notice that apparently the coastal areas of Georgia and Turkish Armenia were not affected by Kura-Araxes, so they may have been a pocket of early Kartvelian survival.

    "So I was, admittedly, taking the leap of connecting the increasingly IE-like (materially) late Cucuteni with the later Maykop".

    A huge leap that I cannot accept.

    "Also, I have long wondered if there was a southern branch of Cucuteni movement eastward, which would have merged with Cycladic/Anatolian cultures, resulting in Hattic and/or Minoan".

    What I read years ago is that Boian, later Boian-Maritza was part of that Danubian expansion to the Eastern Balcans, which may well have been largely cultural rather than demographic and a reaction to the Black-Beige Pottery (Dimini-Vinca, Halaf related) invasions. After all Bulgaria-Thrace-Wallachia was the area that best retained (to some extent) the Painted Pottery traditions, so maybe the people was eager to welcome their "Northern brothers and sisters". However it did not go beyond Europe.

    Nevertheless, in Bulgaria-Thrace-Wallachia, its successor Karanovo-Gumelnita, can well be considered as the first "demonstrated" European kingdom, with princely tombs, great wealth and maybe even some form of writing. It may well have been this wealth what attracted the Indoeuropean invaders, which largely skipped Cucuteni-Tripolye but looted and smashed the Eastern Balcanic civilization instead.

    "I still thought Kartvelian was the overwhelming top candidate for relatedness to Basque".

    Nope. It ended up like all other similar hypothesis. Nowadays I think that the closest language family to Basque is Indoeuropean, but not too close. There's a relatively high percentage of words that seem cognates between Basque and PIE, things like "ash" or "arctos" (bear in Greek, with PIE roots), which are strikingly similar in Basque (hauts, hartz). The relationship (if real) can well be of Paleolithic age but hard to say.

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    1. Hi there, it's been awhile since last comment on this, but I was reminded again by your post today (1-19-14) on Gumelnita, etc.

      So, with regard to our exchange:

      J.R.:" "So I was, admittedly, taking the leap of connecting the increasingly IE-like (materially) late Cucuteni with the later Maykop".

      Maju: A huge leap that I cannot accept "

      Since then I have stumbled into more little supports for what I was hypothesizing; here's one--
      from http://aratta.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/

      "These resemblances [prev.paragraph: Hanago "chaff-faced wares" sim. to "Amuq E/F" from northern Mesopotamia] is interpreted as representing an intrusion of north Mesopotamian immigrants, if not colonists, into the southern Caucasus prior to the well-known ‘Uruk expansion’ north along the Upper Euphrates River. Their arrival is seen as roughly contemporaneous with the seemingly sudden emergence of the Maikop culture of the northwestern Caucasus with its wealth of metal vessels, tools, ornaments and weapons.

      The latter, however, is not interpreted as a direct consequence of this northern Mesopotamian incursion into the highlands, but is viewed as also somehow related to the collapse of the earlier Southeast European hearth of metallurgical activity or the so-called Carpatho-Balkan Metallurgical Province.

      The new high dating of the Maikop culture essentially signifies that there is no chronological hiatus separating the collapse of the Chalcolithic Balkan centre of metallurgical production and the appearance of Maikop and the sudden explosion of Caucasian metallurgical production and use of arsenical copper/bronzes. More than forty calibrated radiocarbon dates on Maikop and related materials now support this high chronology; and the revised dating for the Maikop culture means that the earliest kurgans occur in the northwestern and southern Caucasus and precede by several centuries those of the Pit-Grave (Yamnaya) cultures of the western Eurasian steppes.

      The calibrated radiocarbon dates suggest that the Maikop ‘culture’ seems to have had a formative influence on steppe kurgan burial rituals and what now appears to be the later development of the Pit-Grave (Yamnaya) culture on the Eurasian steppes."

      So it's basically saying that Maykop WAS influenced by Balkan chalcolithic, and in turn went on to influence Yamna.

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    2. The leap I could not accept was the connection with Cucuteni, whether there is a connection between Maikop and the Gutians, I cannot judge. Notice however that the author of your link proposes (very tentatively) that these may have been related to Tocharians instead and, in principle, Tocharians have nothing to do with Maikop.

      "So it's basically saying that Maykop WAS influenced by Balkan chalcolithic"...

      He suggests that but I find it difficult to accept it. As I understand it Maikop is OLDER than the Balcan Chalcolithic collapse, which was caused by Maikop relatives of ill-defined Kurgan waves related to Sredny-Stog II. Maikop is at least as old as 3700 BCE (Ive read even 3950), while the Kurgan incursions in the Balcans are not older than 3500 BCE, while its resulting cultures like Ezero are dated to c. 3300 BCE. Only Sredny-Stog II seems older than Maikop (since c. 4000) but this can hardly correlate with any "collapse" of the Balcanic Chalcolithic (not yet).

      Anyhow, while Balcan metallurgy was obviously well developed for its time (and even vanguard in some aspects), Chalcolithic metallurgy was then quite widespread. I'm not sure on which grounds Maikop may be considered a "Bronze" culture and since when exactly. I've read some references to arsenic bronze (clearly distinct in concept from the Balcanic tin bronze) from "the 4th millenium" but searching around I find:

      It is possible that bronzing was invented independently in the Maikop culture in the North Caucasus as far back as the mid 4th millennium BC, which would make them the makers of the oldest known bronze; but others date the same Maikop artifacts to the mid 3rd millennium BCE. (http://www.ancient.eu.com/Bronze_Age/)

      That's a huge difference!

      They continue:

      However, the Maikop culture only had arsenic bronze, which is a naturally occurring alloy. Tin bronze, which developed later, requires more sophisticated production techniques...

      So in any case this arsenic bronze was not the same as the tin bronze of Karanovo-Gumelnita and nearby Balcanic "Chalcolithic" cultures.

      A true problem with Maikop is that the Maikop treasury was found and literally looted by pseudo-archaeologists of the early 20th century, only interested in profit, not science. Datings are therefore lacking for this magnificent royal tomb and unless we directly gain some knowledge from other sites (do you know any?), everything related to Maikop's alleged first (or second) development of Bronze remains very speculative.

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  11. I guess the main reason I was inclined to speculate that Cucuteni-Trypillians had become Kartvelians was the troubling apparent disappearance of such a massive population. i.e. Where did they go? Hope it wasn't a gross case of outright genocide. Maybe an epidemic instead?

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    1. I haven't studied in much detail the issue of Cucuteni but for what I have read on the "mystery" of so many burned villages and gradual receding before Catacomb and Yamna expansion, I wouldn't be surprised if they gradually succumbed to Indoeuropean raids (enslavement and conquest). Surely, as anywhere else at least some must have been assimilated into the conqueror populations but I have no idea of how many.

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  12. Dear Maju

    I´m Portuguese and I´m surprised with the continuity of so many Pre-Neolithic lineages in Portugal, I thought that it was much more residual (probably because most studies make too much conclusions based on scanty data). But honestly, on the meanwhile on my deep thoughts, I have always questioned these studies, simply because somethings don´t fit.
    I´m just curious about this: from where did you got the mtDNA data for Portugal, for the modern period?

    Thanks for everything!


    Best wishes,

    Gonçalo

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  13. You may need to download it but it's all in the appendix link. For Portugal:

    Ref. 1 (present): Luisa Pereira et al., “Diversity of mtDNA lineages in Portugal: not a genetic edge of European variation”. AJHG 2000.

    Ref 2 (present): http://www.eupedia.com/europe/european_mtdna_haplogroups_frequency.shtml (actually not used in the graphs but a counterpoint in the spreadsheet data: no significant differences from Pereira's study).

    "I´m surprised with the continuity of so many Pre-Neolithic lineages in Portugal"...

    I am not really so surprised: the data is there but the interpretation varies. I got that data from Chandler, Sykes and Zilhao 2005 but had to contrast the HVS-I sequences with more modern phylogenies and what you see is what I got. The sequences (haplotypes) are not the same for Epipaleo- and Neolithic populations (except for a very specific haplotype, labeled with H in the original study but here probably as R*, HVS-I transitions from CRS: 159-156-162). But the groupings (i.e. haplogroups and paragroups) appear to be broadly the same. In this mini-essay I'm only considering the groupings because otherwise it's impossible to compare such wildly diverse data. However it's true that, when possible, it's best to take a closer look.

    Said that, what the Portuguese data says is that H was clearly in parts of Europe (at the very least in Iberia) already in the Epipaleolithic period (confirmed by data from Magdalenian Cantabria and Epipaleolithic Basque Country) and that in some populations (Portugal, probably Cantabria) it was already dominant most likely, even at frequencies much higher than present day.

    This makes Iberia, especially its Western half, a plausible (although not yet demonstrated) source for the excess H that poured on other regions of the continent since the Chalcolithic.

    I must say that with the very same data, Chandler, Sykes and Zilhao argued for demic replacement, but since day one I've failed to see their logic behind such conclusion (and I suspect Zilhao's strong personal stand in favor of replacement are behind such highly debatable conclusions). It's indeed possible that some lineages, like the so much talked of V, might have arrived from somewhere else (Eastern Iberia?, North Africa?) but the limited sizes of the samples also allow for such a minor lineage to have been invisible as well. Personally I think that there may have been a partial replacement but not a total one. One fact is notorious: R*-CRS (probably H1) is conspicuously absent from the Epipaleolithic sequences, while it makes a very sizable fraction of the Neolithic ones. So there may still have been some replacement, although the lineages might have arrived from nearby areas like Spain, Morocco, etc.

    In the late UP we see R*-CRS in Taforalt (Morocco), Nerja (Andalusia), SW England and Cantabria (clearly identified as H via enzymatic tests), so even if it's not strictly Portuguese by origin, the Neolithic R*-CRS probably arrived from the neighboring regions.

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  14. Many thanks for your reply.

    I´m not sure if it´s possible today to find a population with several Pre-Neolithic mtDNA haplotypes, but haplogroups, probably yes.
    I´m also not sure what´s the variation/mutation tendency on this DNA aspect, even if, let´s imagine, a certain isolated population has origins from the Mesolithic.and remain isolated until today.
    I´m not sure if the haplotypes will be exactly the same (I´m not a Geneticist, so I don´t know), but haplogroups very likely yes.
    But I wonder if basing in those haplogroups that you have posted on this article, we can make any conclusion (or at least closer to it) regarding what´s left from the Pre-Neolithic, Neolithic, Calcolithic, Bronze Age, ( etc...), lineages until today.

    I know that in modern Portugal we also have U5 (mtDNA), for example and I wonder if this is enough to think about an hunter-gatherer influence. I see the same haplogroup for the Basques.

    You wrote: «This makes Iberia, especially its Western half, a plausible (although not yet demonstrated) source for the excess H that poured on other regions of the continent since the Chalcolithic.»

    That´s a good possibility: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24475342

    That haplogroup is surely well represented today, if proven its Iberian origin, it would be a very interesting case of the survival and success of a truly ancient lineage.


    You said: «One fact is notorious: R*-CRS (probably H1) is conspicuously absent from the Epipaleolithic sequences, while it makes a very sizable fraction of the Neolithic ones. So there may still have been some replacement, although the lineages might have arrived from nearby areas like Spain, Morocco, etc.»

    Or it is part of the local Paleolithic period as well, just not yet detected. It seems very possible that this mtDNA group (being so close) was native in Portugal as well.

    You wrote: In the late UP we see R*-CRS in Taforalt (Morocco), Nerja (Andalusia), SW England and Cantabria (clearly identified as H via enzymatic tests), so even if it's not strictly Portuguese by origin, the Neolithic R*-CRS probably arrived from the neighboring regions. »


    I think that R*-CRS should logically be part also of the late UP portuguese populations, since it was spread in nearby areas, but it seems difficult to point an exact location for its origin.
    Anyway it was something around...

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  15. "I´m also not sure what´s the variation/mutation tendency on this DNA aspect"...

    It's very slow, although not regular. Modern lineages may have some 20-30 coding region mutations downstream of L3 or M/N, which should have coalesced c. 100 Ka ago. A simple equation makes it one (consolidated) c.r. mutation each 3-5 millennia (on average).

    "I´m not sure if it´s possible today to find a population with several Pre-Neolithic mtDNA haplotypes"...

    Doubtlessly so: HVS-I haplotypes don't change so much in fact. Many remain stuck in a consolidated format, while others no doubt keep evolving. However finding such "frozen" haplotypes is on its own no guarantee of direct relationship, especially if the sequence is common, as may be the CRS haplotype or the variant with the 16311 transition (R(xH2)). "Back-mutations" also happen in HVS-I. That's why coding region sequences are important (they are much more descriptive and much less likely to repeat the same transition).

    "I wonder if basing in those haplogroups that you have posted on this article, we can make any conclusion (or at least closer to it) regarding what´s left from the Pre-Neolithic, Neolithic, Calcolithic, Bronze Age, ( etc...), lineages until today."

    The question is where. A simple (oversimplistic) method is to get the pre-Neolithic frequency of U and calculate its modern apportion. So for example, in Epipaleolithic Basques U was 50%, while today U is 20%, resulting in some 40% of estimated Paleolithic continuity from local sources.

    In Portugal it'd be something like 50%, while in Germany it'd be less than 17%.

    It's not rocket science anyhow. Just a simplistic bottom line estimate. In Central Europe especially we can't be sure if the U fraction largely arrived with the Kurgan (Indoeuropean) migrations (Kromsdorf, Unetice). But I guess that a 10% or so may still be rooted in the local Epipaleolithic. Also some of the LBK H may have been incorporated at the Mid-Danube, as discussed separately on a recent study of Hungarian aDNA, what would make for some 13% extra Central European Epipaleolithic roots, even if not strictly "German". The total would be anyhow under 25%.

    "... if proven its Iberian origin"...

    I think we have to wait for aDNA testing of Neolithic peoples from Brittany, Denmark, etc. Even the non-LBK farmers of Western Central Europe (La Hoguette and the various local groups of NW France and Belgium, for example), which co-existed with early LBK all around the Rhine, from Paris to Munich. With the current data it's really impossible to pinpoint a clear origin for the excess H, so notorious in the German Bell Beaker samples.

    So far we only have one Megalithic sample from the Lower Loire (1/3 H) and a few from SW Sweden (again 1/3 H). This would seem to reinforce the notion of West Iberian origin but so far is not enough to discard other possible sources. If Iberian, I would expect also some (c. 10%) North African genetics to have been brought with that and it does not seem the case (with the occasional exception, clearly not enough). So I remain a bit cautious but favorable to the Western origin hypothesis (within Megalithism surely) for lack of a better explanation.

    "Or it is part of the local Paleolithic period as well, just not yet detected".

    The sequences accumulate and it's still not there, with one Austrian exception. The Austrian and Hungarian data suggest that some H did arrive from the Mid-Danube with LBK but it'd only explain a minor fraction of the current one (~1/3). So there must be another source.

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  16. Maju said:"So my tentative proposal is that there was a root Vasconic spoken some 9000 years ago in Thessaly (Northern Greece), which split (as per archaeology) in two branches:
    Southern or Western Vasconic (Impressed-Cardium Pottery and related cultures, including the Megalithic urheimat in Portugal).
    Northern or Eastern Vasconic (Red-White Painted Ware in the Balcans and later Linear Pottery in Central Europe).
    Basque, ancient Sardinian, Iberian and the hypothetical lingua franca associated to Megalithism would belong to Southern Vasconic. Danubian Neolithic peoples would have spoken Northern Vasconic instead but, as we can see, they were eventually all but wiped out by secondary arrivals from West and East..."
    As you can read in my 'Basque and Uralic' on www.academia.edu , IMHO Basque from before the arrival of the Iberians (3,000 BCE?) should be separated from the group: it seems to belong to an older branch of a Eurasian culture and language continuum with similar roots as the Iberian/Sardinian/etc. complex. Later Basque is a mixture of both. The northern 'vasconic' can be identified with the Etruscan/Rhaetian/Hungarian complex (acknowledging of course the 9th c. CE 'second infusion') (Ballester, Alieni et al.).
    All these languages seem to have Uralic origins with some Altaic admixture (Morvan, myself).
    I mean , among other things, that the 'Basque' traces in Sardinia and the Basque-Iberian cognates are due to the Iberian migration by island-hopping starting from the Aegean. The Etruscan expansion would have come first from the Carpathian basin, in various directions, one of them to Thrace and the W. Anatolian coast and/or islands (notably Lemnos), and from there to Etruria in the 13th. c. BCE. The maritime migration of the Iberians might have started either from Thessalia (or even Attica), or from Lydia. I wouldn't even exclude that the precursors of the Iberians were to be found in places like ÇatalHöyük.



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    1. Why do you think that Iberians "arrived" from anywhere else than Iberia? IMO the most parsimonious interpretation is that Iberians are derived from the local Cardium Neolithic via: Los Millares → El Argar → Post-Argaric culture → Eastern branch of Tartessian-Orientalizing culture. Unless you support a colonial origin of Los Millares, I make no sense of that.

      Also at least some Iberian texts (in Ibero-Ionian script, which leaves no room for mistranscription) sound extremely like Basque: http://forwhattheywereweare.blogspot.com/2011/07/iberian-texts-in-ibero-jonian-script.html

      It makes me believe that they should be derived from the same proto-language, with whatever other influences each. The most plausible shared origin is IMO Neolithic.

      I will take a look at your papers anyhow (direct link to page: http://independent.academia.edu/EduardSelleslaghSuykens), however I do not feel qualified to consider possible Uralic affinities easily but I'll give it a try.

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  17. Regarding the mtDNA mutation, I have found this:« Human mitochondrial DNA has been estimated to have mutation rates of ~3× or ~2.7×10−5 per base per 20 year generation (depending on the method of estimation);** these rates are considered to be significantly higher than rates of human genomic mutation at ~2.5×10−8 per base per generation.» ***

    **Estimation of Past Demographic Parameters From the Distribution of Pairwise Differences S. Schneider, L. Excoffier, 1999

    *** Estimate of the Mutation Rate per Nucleotide in Humans M. W. Nachman, S. L. Crowell, Genetics 156, 297-304, 2000

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    1. Estimates. And, as you can see, the foundations of such estimates have not been revised since 2000, what is like the Stone Age of Genetics. This data only emphasizes the annoying scholasticism of so many researchers, who essentially cite the same fetish paper once and again in order to produce results whose fundaments are not confirmed in any scientific way, but just accepted by scholastic inertia.

      It's like some Marxists who claim to be "scientific" because they can quote Marx with great precision. They could all well be creationists quoting the Bible as well.

      Scholasticism is the main enemy of science: it's Platonian not Keplerian! Kepler was lost for decades because he tried to be precisely that: Platonian, then he broke with all that and began thinking on his own, critically. That's science! Scholasticism is mere religion.

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    2. A key problem with mtDNA is that the branch lengths are not even approximately equal, some like most of U are very long (lots of accumulated mutations) while others like H are very short. This is a well known problem, but since maybe 2001 or 2003 only. See:

      → http://forwhattheywereweare.blogspot.com/2011/06/mitochondrial-dna-and-molecular-clock.html

      Another problem in all kind of "molecular clocks" is systematically underestimating the Pan-Homo split to 7-5 Ka, when in reality it must be older than 7 Ka (the age of the first known hominin: Sahelanthropus tchadiensis, Toumaï, who was already diverged from the chimp line) and has been recently estimated to be 8-13 Ka in fact. By doing that MC fanatics are cutting the realistic ages by almost half. A recent case was Oppenheimer's last paper, in which he essentially cites another study he was co-signatory of to reach to a way too recent human mitochondrial genealogy:

      → http://forwhattheywereweare.blogspot.com/2013/05/oppenheimer-2012-scholastic-oroborus-of.html

      His results would have been quite acceptable just a few years ago maybe but today they clash with the archaeological evidence. In order to reach some credible estimates I had to add 23-54% to all dates.

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  18. Many thanks, Maju, for your clarifications.

    «We see some but not-so-radical changes with the arrival of Neolithic: some apparent decrease of U (halved) and L(xR), a +33% growth of H and first detection of HV0 (probably V). However these changes seem to have been partly countered by Chalcolithic, plausibly by means of blending between first farmers and more purely aboriginal populations. Overall I am very much tempted to think that the arrival of Neolithic to (South and Central) Portugal only caused mild demic changes.»

    So it´s really reasonable to assume that the arrival of the Neolithic only caused small changes on the local mtDNA?


    I know that it´s a bit off topic, but recently I have visited a village in the North Portugal (somewhat isolated on the mountains) and a great amount of locals did had a clear Berid or South Cromagnid input on them (some actually did looked some sort of tribals, like a proto form of Mediterraneans).

    I think that Iberia have some places with very interesting phenotypes and genotypes.





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    1. "So it´s really reasonable to assume that the arrival of the Neolithic only caused small changes on the local mtDNA?"

      In Portugal? IMO it is possible but all depends on how you read the data. For example the Chandler et al. 2005 conference paper that largely informs this entry re. Portugal argued (on the very same data) that there was replacement. They emphasized the presence of a new lineage (V) and the apparent loss of some "N*" (L3(xR), some of which is probably L3(xN)) in the samples across the Neolithic temporal border, disregarding the similitude of most of the sequences across that line (H, U). I think that was a bit forced and weighted probably because Zilhao, one of the co-authors, is strongly positioned in favor of replacement, but is a good example of how with the same data, you can get different readings, depending on the color of your glasses, so to say.

      My understanding is in any case that the changes seem rather minor and that makes better sense when we understand that there is Neolithic Megalithism in that area even before Cardium Pottery arrives to Iberia, a century earlier or so. This is a still somewhat contentious issue because it's difficult to explain the existence of Neolithic in Andalusia and Portugal before Cardium but the C-14 seems quite resilient to that skepticism.

      See for example: http://forwhattheywereweare.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-expansion-of-neolithic-in-europe.html

      "a great amount of locals did had a clear Berid or South Cromagnid input on them"

      Not sure what "South Cromagnid" means but the Berid type (i.e. typical of Berbers) shows up once and again in mostly, West Iberia. This is consistent with the fact that the region has some approx. 9% North African haploid ancestry (yDNA E-M81, mtDNA L and U6), which is almost absent in the other 2/3 of the peninsula.

      See for example: http://forwhattheywereweare.blogspot.com/2011/04/guest-post-by-argiedude-west-east-y-dna.html

      This can be interpreted in Neolithic or Paleolithic terms but certainly not in the context of later processes such as the Muslim period, which should have affected other areas (would be a S-N gradient not a W-E one). I personally favor a Solutrean era founder effect related to the genesis of Oranian in North Africa. At that time the core of settlement in non-Cantabrian Iberia was the SE (from Valencia to Gibraltar) but the area of Lisbon and some scattered settlements elsewhere were also inhabited. The North African Oranian being partly of South Iberian Gravetto-Solutrean origin explains the high incidence of SW European mtDNA lineages in North Africa (H1, H3, H4, H7 and V) but there was probably also some backflow in the opposite direction, maybe bringing the concept of winglets in projectile points, which I believe was introduced back then in Europe and has a long tradition in North African Aterian instead. This backflow may have impacted more intensely into the Atlantic facade, otherwise similar to the Mediterranean one. In turn, Asturian Solutrean, unlike the rest of the Cantabrian cornice (which was rather related to Aquitaine), owes its origins to Southern Iberian one (probably from Portugal via Salamanca). Later in Magdalenian we see a division between the Basque and the Cantabrian-Asturian facies, what may have been the occasion for the Asturian or otherwise West Iberian North African influences and other peculiarities to have expanded to that area.

      This is my favorite interpretation but I'm of course uncertain about it being actually correct.

      Delete
  19. Many thanks, Maju, for your clarifications.

    «We see some but not-so-radical changes with the arrival of Neolithic: some apparent decrease of U (halved) and L(xR), a +33% growth of H and first detection of HV0 (probably V). However these changes seem to have been partly countered by Chalcolithic, plausibly by means of blending between first farmers and more purely aboriginal populations. Overall I am very much tempted to think that the arrival of Neolithic to (South and Central) Portugal only caused mild demic changes.»

    So it´s really reasonable to assume that the arrival of the Neolithic only caused small changes on the local mtDNA?


    I know that it´s a bit off topic, but recently I have visited a village in the North Portugal (somewhat isolated on the mountains) and a great amount of locals did had a clear Berid or South Cromagnid input on them (some actually did looked some sort of tribals, like a proto form of Mediterraneans).

    I think that Iberia have some places with very interesting phenotypes and genotypes.

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  20. Berid is synonym of South Cromagnid.

    I didn´t saw any Berberids.

    Thank you about the rest of information.
    I´ll digest it and comment it later.

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    Replies
    1. According to someone "reputed" in this thread (anthro forum): "Berberid is meant to be a cromagnid type while berid is meant to be a reduced (alpinised) type". He added: "A "berberid" looking person in Europe would most likely be classified as something like paleo-atlantid".

      But whatever, I don't really grasp the matter well enough to say. Both types are in any case establishing links across the Strait of Gibraltar.

      Delete
  21. Berid is synonym of South Cromagnid.

    I didn´t saw any Berberids.

    Thank you about the rest of information.
    I´ll digest it and comment it later.

    ReplyDelete
  22. By the way, I would say that surely one of the ancestral phenotypes of Southwestern Europe and Northwestern Africa, was the Berid.
    Though some Berbers may have it too.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I was reading the data that was posted about the term.

    There are several indications about Berids:

    «Lundman's Berid is a short, cromagniform Mediterranean found in South Europe and among many Berbers of Africa. The tall, robust Mediterraneans of North Africa (other Berber populations) were coined Paleo Atlantid by him. However other authors used the name Berberid (Knußman, 1996) for the same tall people or Eurafrikanid (Eickstedt, 1934).»

    «Lundman wrote in Historia Mundi (1952) about Berberids in Sardinia and South Spain. In his book Geographische Anthropologie (1967) he almost kept the text 1:1, but replaced Beberid by Berid and deleted Berberid from his typology.»

    More with Lundman: « The southwestern European racial groups-Berids, West-Mediterraneans, and Alpines - evidently originated from shorter-statured and darker Cro-Magnids. These more southerly Cro-Magnids were less adapted to cold climate.

    Most of the Berids live in the more unfavorable areas of southwestern Europe. In part they were forced there by other races. In the case of the Berids, we evidently have before us a more original type.»

    «The Alpine race arose only rather late through brachycephalization in the poorer and colder regions of Berids and Berid-mixtures. The origins of this race can be traced back to the Neolithic period. But only in the Middle Ages is the Alpine race more strongly prominent.
    The East-Mediterraneans and the East-Alpines have probably originated in an approximately similar manner from East European long-skulled and high-skulled old groups ("Brunnids"). »

    Berid is about right, I think.

    I´ll comment the mtDNA subject later.

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    Replies
    1. From the few times when I discussed these always questionable typologies, I'm of the opinion that Lundman's categorization should be the more correct of the classic ones, if any. I really can't stand Coon on the other side: he's so absolutely nordocentric that for him every other not-Nordic group are amorphous and lumps them in comparably over-simplistic categories.

      Another thing is that the supposed "racial evolution" he argues for makes any sense at all. Most such typologies are just large scale "family looks", nothing else, caused by mere randomness and definitely not any sort of "adaption". When we jump from real faces to skulls, he, like so many others, surely loses it, because skull shape varies (for reasons not well understood but certainly environmental) between generations.

      But well, the case is that some (not most) West Iberian faces remind of North African types. Call them whatever, and that surely has to do with ancient flows - although I would not say this if genetics would not be underlining it, face or cranial similitude, while a hint, may be misleading.

      Delete
  24. I was reading the data that was posted about the term.

    There are several indications about Berids:

    «Lundman's Berid is a short, cromagniform Mediterranean found in South Europe and among many Berbers of Africa. The tall, robust Mediterraneans of North Africa (other Berber populations) were coined Paleo Atlantid by him. However other authors used the name Berberid (Knußman, 1996) for the same tall people or Eurafrikanid (Eickstedt, 1934).»

    «Lundman wrote in Historia Mundi (1952) about Berberids in Sardinia and South Spain. In his book Geographische Anthropologie (1967) he almost kept the text 1:1, but replaced Beberid by Berid and deleted Berberid from his typology.»

    More with Lundman: « The southwestern European racial groups-Berids, West-Mediterraneans, and Alpines - evidently originated from shorter-statured and darker Cro-Magnids. These more southerly Cro-Magnids were less adapted to cold climate.

    Most of the Berids live in the more unfavorable areas of southwestern Europe. In part they were forced there by other races. In the case of the Berids, we evidently have before us a more original type.»

    «The Alpine race arose only rather late through brachycephalization in the poorer and colder regions of Berids and Berid-mixtures. The origins of this race can be traced back to the Neolithic period. But only in the Middle Ages is the Alpine race more strongly prominent.
    The East-Mediterraneans and the East-Alpines have probably originated in an approximately similar manner from East European long-skulled and high-skulled old groups ("Brunnids"). »

    Berid is about right, I think.

    I´ll comment the mtDNA subject later.

    ReplyDelete
  25. @Maju
    "What I say is that before 9000 BP there was Neolithic with Pottery (and both types of pottery later expanded via the continental and maritime routes through Europe, with whatever variations) in Thessaly.

    Incidentally, this is older than Pre-Pottery Neolithic B, which is the first certain Neolithic culture of the Levant. PPNA is probably not yet farmer but transitional, mostly large scale sedentary forager."

    Large scale sedentary forager makes me think of wetlands which may tie into the black sea inundation hypothesis i.e. a large area of wetlands around the western edge of the black sea.

    If so and if the first farmers spread south into the fertile crescent first and then west to the Levant and from there sailed to Greece/Thessaly perhaps that's where the EEF were formed - part near east farmer and part Thessalian wetlands forager?

    With the composite population spreading across europe from there, one part taking the Danube route and one part taking the coastal route?

    #

    "Pottery Neolithic in West Asia is quite clearly more recent than in Europe: the first Pottery Neolithic is dated to c. 8,400 BP, what is about a thousand years more recent than in Thessaly."

    Possibly got the idea from the THG (Thessalian HGs)?

    #

    "This is a still somewhat contentious issue because it's difficult to explain the existence of Neolithic in Andalusia and Portugal before Cardium but the C-14 seems quite resilient to that skepticism."

    Mostly male founder populations of resource extraction sites rather than full colonies e.g. miners, fishers, traders on the edge of an advancing wave like American fur trappers?

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    Replies
    1. "Possibly got the idea from the THG (Thessalian HGs)?"

      Not in principle because the first few centuries are still pre-pottery Neolithic.

      "Mostly male founder populations of resource extraction sites rather than full colonies e.g. miners, fishers, traders on the edge of an advancing wave like American fur trappers?"

      Mining was not important yet. They were farmers: full vegetable neolithic package, plus olives, but no animals yet it seems (except rabbit which was surely hunted).

      I don't follow well your ideas on the Black Sea swamps: too much speculation.

      Delete
    2. Sorry, this part

      "Mostly male founder populations of resource extraction sites rather than full colonies e.g. miners, fishers, traders on the edge of an advancing wave like American fur trappers?"

      wasn't related to the Thessaly comment but to an earlier argument you were having upthread about Iberia / Atlantic coast.

      .

      but "Mining was not important yet"

      wasn't flint and obsidian mining important before metal?

      Delete
    3. "I don't follow well your ideas on the Black Sea swamps: too much speculation."

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sea_deluge_hypothesis

      (Assuming there was no inundation just a gradual change in water level.)

      There have been a number of arguments on here about the land connection between Anatolia and Thessaly. I'm saying if the Black Sea was a lot lower then the light blue on the map shown here might have been wetlands which may have provided a barrier either physically or - given the presence of sedentary foragers - so calorie rich that the local HGs had a high population density and provided the blockage themselves.

      Delete
    4. Actually I thought you were talking about the (arguably pre-Cardium) Andalusian Neolithic. That's why I mentioned rabbits, olives and lack of domestic animals (that's what I read years ago).

      "... wasn't flint and obsidian mining important before metal?"

      Actually obsidian was not available everywhere, flint stone (and other stones too) were much more common. I think there were some obsidian trades in West Asia very early but in Europe most tools were made of flint, even in the Chalcolithic. Flint mining and trade as such became only important in the Chalcolthic (known in Britain as Late Neolithic), at least that's it in general terms. Previously I understand that most materials were local.

      It makes some sense because society was probably quite rural and locally organized and had not yet hierarchies, professional specialization nor mercantile economy. Only in the Chalcolithic we see the change towards a more complex society, regardless of the presence of metallurgy. Of course there were local variations and in West Asia it seems that some of this complexity was achieved already in the Mesolithic (i.e. before agriculture, cf. Göbekli Tepe, obsidian trade, Jericho, etc.) but regarding Europe it's hard to spot this complexity before at least a very advanced Neolithic phase.

      Delete
    5. "Only in the Chalcolithic we see the change towards a more complex society...in West Asia it seems that some of this complexity was achieved already in the Mesolithic (i.e. before agriculture, cf. Göbekli Tepe, obsidian trade, Jericho, etc.) but regarding Europe it's hard to spot this complexity before at least a very advanced Neolithic phase."

      Maltese temples. Obsidian from Sardinia and Lipari.

      Delete
    6. Chalcolithic, right? In Malta as elsewhere we see first a "simple" farmer period of more than 2000 years (similar to nearby Sicily's) and only then the Temple culture arose c. 3600 or 3500 BCE. These dates are consistent with the pan-European chronology of the Chalcolithic.

      Notice that for most prehistorians the Chalcolithic (at least in Europe) is not anymore measured in terms of early metallurgy but of increased social complexity (often but not always found with early metallurgy), much like Neolithic is not anymore associated to polished stones or pottery but is defined by farming. However the English school remains using the term "Late Neolithic" instead (probably for the lack of metal smelting in the islands' Chalcolithic), while continentals use that term for the period that precedes the Early Chalcolithic. Then again the English use "Bronze Age" wherever they see some copper, what is not a good way of periodization and often confuses more than clarifies.

      Delete
    7. Fair point. I remembered it as 5000 BC but as you say that was first settlement rather than temple-building.

      Delete
  26. Actually looking at the maps on here and assuming for the sake of argument a lower Black Sea meant large wetlands around the western and southern edges

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sea_deluge_hypothesis

    could the land route from Anatolia to Thessaly have been blocked by these wetlands around the edge of the Black Sea and their potentially relatively high population density of HG defenders?

    ReplyDelete

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