- Big DNA study
- Bigger DNA study
- Biggest DNA study (coming soon)
- Surprising Bell Beaker mtdna from Spanish Mesetas (Roth, 2016)
I'll start with the unusual Beaker mtdna profiles of Mesetas. Firstly, this dataset clearly shows discontinuity and social demarcation during the Beaker period of this region. The Mesetan Bell Beakers were reasonably a close nit group of people who came from somewhere else. Coming aDNA may tell us more.
Weirdly, the Mesetan maternal profiles are distinguished by the relative absence of Haplogroup H, especially those subclades presumably native to Iberia*. That was so far observed or inferred to be the norm for Beakers outside the Meseta. (Botherton et al, 2013) and that was easily extrapolated on the Isles and other places given additional information. In any case, the Mesetan Beakers (Ciempozuelos) have a preponderance of U5a, which have may come more directly from the mouth of the Tagus; but as Roth notes, is more often associated with Eastern Europe.
That's not really the focus of this post necessarily, and I'm not advocating any sort of interpretation.
However, it is interesting to view this new information through the lens of various theories on Beaker origins. One of the Beaker elements that is clearly foreign to Iberia is the growing corpus of All-Over Corded Beakers (AOC), which as Richard Harrison observed, are typically found in the Iberian littorals).
I'm not sure Steppe ancestry in the Meseta will tell us more than expected, but the early emergence of corded pottery may tell us something in the near future or not. And so, some links...
To be clear, I'm not suggesting any meaningful presence of AOC in the Mesetas, but could it be another indicator of a reflux movement of people from Northern Europe?
It's seems more likely that the Mesetan Beakers came from Central Portugal based on, at least the Maritime pottery...
"Castillo’s model was not challenged in Spain until Harrison’s book (1977), which adopted Sangmeister’s dualist model (1963), and postulated an origin in central Portugal for maritime Beakers and a central-European one for the later incised forms of decoration. Harrison compiled the information then available and suggested that both the Maritime and Ciempozuelos complexes were intrusive in the Meseta" (Garrido-Pena, 1997)Certainly is looking to be the case.