Thursday, February 12, 2015

Fix & Mix - Quedlinburg & Middle-Saale Beakers

The Quedlinburg man pictured in the [previous post] was a 20 year old, probably from the QUEXII plot, not the male tested for the Haak paper in the QLB/VII plot.  The R1b revealed in the paper was from a man less than 50 years old, not 20.   (Just wanted to correct myself)

Possibly I0806, A QLB man with Bell Beaker burial, Corded Ware axe [lda-lsa]
The man described in the [paper]:

"Another group of six graves was discovered at Quedlinburg reference site VII and attributed to the Bell beaker culture based on form and orientation of the burials32. We included a >50 year old male individual buried in an extreme flexed position."
QLB28/I0806 (feature 19617, 2296-2206 calBCE, MAMS 22820)

I don't know if this man is QLB28/I0806; he doesn't look to be in the extreme flexed position, but he is definitely from the same QLB cemetery and was scheduled to be DNA tested.  Harald Meller, an author of the paper, appears to be associated with this dig.
QLB28/I0806? Mitteldeutsche Zeitung (CHRIS WOHLFELD)

I believe this article describes the DNA extraction in 2010 [in German].  The mixed cultural features of his grave is the reason why he was selected to be tested.  As the article mentions, this man has a Corded Ware shaft-hole axe, seen below. 

Shaft-hole axe Mitteldeutsche Zeitung (CHRIS WOHLFELD)

and a perfect bell beaker:

a glockenbecher, Mitteldeutsche Zeitung (CHRIS WOHLFELD)

Reading various sources on the Quedlinburg plots, it appears many of the graves either have mixed contexts or intrude into older cemeteries.  The Haak paper mentions this, so does the lda-lsa website and several papers.

I mentioned this dilemma on my blog and at Eurogenes before, warning that the Middle-Saale Beakers will look artificially closer to an archetypal Corded person than they should.  Obviously, the Corded traits survived Beaker encroachment which became grafted into the local Beaker culture.  This will be true in many places.

Also, I don't know that all 69 individuals genetically tested were ever the subject of a concerted academic effort to begin with, where all 39 authors walked out the door holding hands.  As it seems with these Beakers, they were already being tested to help understand their mixed archaeological features. (And it is important to emphasis mixed, like a salad, not fused, per se.)

Personally, I interpreted some of the maternal DNA as looking more Corded Ware/Farmer than Iberian Bell Beaker, so they may be a literal combination of Beaker men and Corded women, or whatever.  I doubt that "Ancestral North Eurasian" will be as large a component in fringe Beakers as it is in Corded people, but who knows.  Of course identifying a Beaker profile is a catch-22.  Beakers intermingled with everyone, everywhere.  So everyone may be "half-Beaker" everywhere.


  1. Beaker in total ancestry was much more CWC-like than EEF-like. If modeled as a mix of CWC and a middle Neolithic Spain, they would come out over 50% CWC. I don't understand why you're arguing for a western origin of R1b. It's an eastern haplogroup, like all R.

    Why do you and others insist on a western spread of European R1b?

    1. I've always argued against refuge and Neolithic positions. Always expressed support for eastern origin and late expansion of M269 in the Chalcolithic

    2. Hi

      I just posted in Anthrogenica a short presentation on the possibility that R1b may have migrated from the Maghreb. Your writing in this blog were very inspiring for me. I hope you will like it. Best regards, Abou

    3. Abou, it looks great. Some comments:

      I'll point out that almost eighty years ago (long before radio-carbon dating), Bell Beaker phenomenon was recognized as an Iberian cultural expansion based on typology alone. I mention this because there are a lot of opinions that think the only need is to find an old carbon date in the Carpathian basin, then that proves (in their minds) that Beakers eighteen-wheeled in from the steppes with Corded peoples.

      The only serious challenge to "Iberia first" was the Dutch hypothesis based on the confusing AOO hybrid Beakers and artificially old carbons dates (geology), but I think Harry Fokkens has put this idea to bed on multiple levels.

      As I have mentioned repeatedly, early Bell Beaker is a mix of Iberian and North African influences and over time slowly grafts independent elements of the Corded Ware tradition from different localities. "Steppers" will try to make the argument that proper Beaker society was over-run by steppe Corded lineages (in their view a Corded R1b). Rationally, this has to be rejected. It requires the most martial society on Earth at that time to be over-run on every island and every square inch of Europe, leaving nothing except its culture.(!?)

      I am almost positive that the cultural changes that occur in Western Europe derive from North Africa, however I will warn you that a bear claw to the face is coming for suggesting 312 immigrated from the Maghreb. Everyone has concluded that Bell Beaker is derivative of some un-named steppe culture that isn't Yamnaya, but similar to it.

      I disagree with the Berber language though. Berber itself appears to have a substrate and probably doesn't appear in Northwest Africa till the Bronze Age or slightly later. But the linguistic arguments I think are kind of moot anyway, so who knows.

      It's all great. I will be posting more things soon. Hopefully you can use them in upcoming revisions.

    4. I look forward to read your upcoming posting on this subject. For me we need similar studies like the one you posted on the Holocene population migration in north Africa. This is a great paper indeed, as if you have gone back in time and watch those people moving back and forth, expanding sometimes and shrinking in others. What stroke me is when it reached around 4000BC We see a very clear migration from the Maghreb to Spain via the strait of Gibraltar. Obviously if the clock was 1000 years forward then this will be a clear proof of BB moving from North Africa. I have to ask those guys what's their error interval as it's clear for me that this sudden increase in Iberian population has to do with the BB. I am very disappointed that similar study was not conducted for the Iberian peninsula. This would have answered a lot pending questions. We have to wait and hope. I know that people are very dispassionate about this subject. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what we wish for, hard evidence will prevail.

  2. QLB28/I0806 was Y-DNA R-P312+ with limited subclade testing but did not include P312's main Subclades DF27, U152 & L21. Wasn't this important to further discuss as to why this sample didn't have those key SNPs tested, or were they and being held under wraps?

    1. Actually, I'm not sure. I know that of the two men at the Kromsdorf cemetary, no further resolution beyond R1b could be achieved for one, and no further than M269 could be achieved from the other.
      I believe that at Quedlinburg this is a similar case of M269+ and then failing beyond this.