|Dalton School Cist (unkown)|
Every year there is a "Beaker Days" conference/site tour hosted in a different country. This year it is being hosted in Mediterranean France on 11-15 May 2016. This one is entitled "Beaker Days in Mediterranean France Twenty years of 'Archéologie et Gobelets'". The call for papers is out and maybe this summer we'll see some of the presentations or papers. You can be sure the topics will be interesting.
The Perdigões Research Program website announced that it will participate in a DNA collaboration project “Beaker origins: Testing the hypothesis of late Neolithic dispersals from Iberia using both ancient and contemporary mitochondrial genomes”. [Link]
If you read this blog, you are already well familiar of the mitochondrial mosaic of the Neolithic Europe and how much of this 'changed' to what it is now. My own view has been fairly consistent, Haplogroup H is clearly Euphratean and it's subclades are too young to be parked in some nude, rock-throwing culture that was sufficiently dispersed in the Pleistocene. The question is how an when its subclades were dispersed and why are there two brackets of H subclades moving into Europe at different times?
The Brotherton paper of 2013 made a good case at the time that the sub-H frequency in Europe was a product of a Bell Beaker folk expansion out of Western Iberia, and this largely came at the expense of the continental mito-salad. I wrote about this [here]. Hervella (2015) somewhat complicates Brotherton's observation, but it might actually complement Brotherton's theory with a few tweaks in interpretation [here].
I should point out that I am well aware of other dogs and cats out there, but really we're talking about large population shifts across vast regions. Changes in Europe's mitogenome is important for establishing the 'folkness' of a folk movement, not simply the bastard children of wandering magical metal-smiths as some might claim.
From the Perdigoes Research site, we will also soon have:
"...a synthesis about the Bell Beaker phenomena at Perdigões will be presented at a meeting to be held in the University of Lisbon next May."
Although the Alentejo region had an apparently mild and late reaction to Bell Beaker when contrasted with other Portuguese regions, it's interesting that the copper used in some of the earliest Beaker sites, for example at Zambujal, appear to come from this region, possible through Perdigoes itself. So hopefully there will be a narrative that is simple and straightforward enough for me to latch on to, because right now my mind is a blank piece of paper.