Friday, September 1, 2017

Alpine Savages, Valencia de Vucedol, Westphalian Weirdos

"Piece of Cake!"

Maybe a soul or two will remember this odd paper by Beau et al, 2017.  It's significance seems lost so far, so here's a simplified narrative: A predatory and expansive ethnic emerged in the MN Michelsberg, apparently a lightly-footed, pit-burying, hunter-heavy Atlantic with short heads.  Either the savages 'hunted' farmers beyond their borders or they represent a localized ethnic stratum, either way they appear genetically distinct from the people they ritually victimized.  Is this genetic apartheid also visible at Blatterhole in Westphalia? (Blätterhof, Blätterhohle)

This culture bleeds influences into a few other successor cultures; important ones with so-far uninteresting genetic anomalies you might recall.  The Michelsberg mito-profiles are interesting in that light.  A paper by Katrina Dulias et al was due to be published already this month and it will be interesting to see their analysis on the expansion of H1 and H3 from the Southwest.  More on Christina Roth, 2016 with mito-turnover in the Mesetas below. 

Before moving on to Baalbergers, Blatterhohleans and Barcelonans, it might be helpful or not helpful to look back on how American anthropologists viewed the origin of big-bodied brachycephals of the Late Neolithic during this last century.  Earnest Hooton and his students viewed the rugged 'Alpine' racial type to likely be a Mesolithic relict from small pockets of Western Europe that slowly re-emerged through a combination of selection and miscegenation.  Of course they understood that brachycephals were also lightly represented in pockets of the Near East and recognized a general brachycephalization trend, but they also understood that the Late Neolithic saw massive migration from the East into the West of Europe.  Despite this, Hooton preferred the view that this massive physique was more likely a re-emergence of the savage in the horridly barbaric Middle Neolithic.

While modern osteologists working in Central and Eastern Europe are dodgy about the directional origin of the Beaker 'Alpine ethnic', from what I've read of the six or so leading experts in Central Europe, I'd bet they prefer a Western origin of the Beaker physique.  To make the matter more complex is the fact that most ethnic Bell Beakers very likely have substantial Corded Ware ancestry and cultural heritage (if not a majority) even if the communities didn't exactly overlap spatially or chronologically.  And for extra credit to this problem, it's also likely that later ethnic Beakers of the Eastern group intermingled with unrelated Steppe groups (to both themselves or a separate Corded Ware); personally I would point to Szigetszentmiklós (I2787) as direct evidence of a potential Beaker-Yamna hybrid.

The nearly certain Corded Ware ancestry of the North Central Beakers, and really almost all non-Iberian Beakers, is problematic when looking at the Bell Beaker racial type because not many of their distinct features could be attributable to the more slightly built CWC.  OTOH, Beakers clearly have a larger amount of what looks like WHG ancestry and it would necessarily have to be this specific ancestry that accounts for some of their unique features if Corded Ware ancestry represents the entirety of their recent Steppe heritage.  Clearly the Meseta underwent a large change about the time of the Beakers, and these bulbous-headed giants lack a significant Steppe component.  So what the heck does that mean?


Anyhow, when you look at the Baalbergers from Salzmünde or the Blatterhohle Westphalians such as Bla16 I1593, something interesting becomes a possibility.  So for fun, let's pretend for a moment that the so-called Steppe migration did in fact happen in multiple waves instead of a single wave as currently understood by the Allentoft, Haack and Olalde papers.  Would the earliest waves have comparable amounts of CHG compared to the last wave, assuming the Corded Ware represents the last wave?  And what was the make up of the Northwest and Western Black Sea if that was an area that the initial wave formed?

Finally, we go to the Barcelonan Bell Beakers.  The current view is that Iberian Beakers contributed almost nothing to the Continental Beaker ethnic.  This is put forth in "The Bell Beaker Phenomenon and the Genomic Transformation of Northwestern Europe".  That must be a false dichotomy because it is inconceivable on multiple grounds.  Iberian Beakers expanded powerfully into Europe.  That is not the same as 'Iberians expanded powerfully into Europe'.  So like Heyd has written, in broad strokes a picture is forming, but the details might be different than expected.  Right now there is a simple narrative, but by this time next year, we might find ourselves again passing the same tree.

It might be a good idea to, once again, re-read "Kossinna's Smile".

18 comments:

  1. The terminology about anthropological types isn't terribly non-standard, but FWIW, I have a very hard time following it without pictures.

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    1. I can only point to the previous posts at the moment. The more recent ones in the last two or three months of the Olalde paper have some out links to the anthropological studies. I'd point more in there, but kind of busy recently.

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  2. Olalde et al sampled a lot of non-Iberian Bell Beaker remains and found nothing about them that was genetically Iberian. Even the Neolithic farmer component in non-Iberian BB is not Iberian but fits Globular Amphora + TRB best. What if the surprise caused by this is due to the fact that the Spanish Model of BB origins is erroneous, as it certainly appears to be?

    If these brachycephalic forager "savages" you described contributed to BB, it must have been through females, because there is no sign of y-dna R1b-M269 or its scion, R1b-L23, in Neolithic central or western Europe thus far.

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    1. My point is that presuming Iberian Bell Beaker is a purely native Iberian is wrong when it is clear in the Meseta that they are genetically not native (Roth, 2016)
      M269 is clearly intrusive to Western Europe, but how it expanded and with whom it was first associated may be much different than the current narrative.

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    2. The predominant M269 in BB is R1b-L23>L51>L151>P312. It certainly looks like R1b-L23 came from the steppe, since the other culture where R1b-L23 is found in plenty is Yamnaya, and its father M269 probably did, too. So, a steppe y-dna clade predominates in BB and BB carries significant steppe dna.

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    3. "So, a steppe y-dna clade predominates in BB and BB carries significant steppe dna."

      Significant steppe DNA yes, just a lot less than the Corded Ware from whom they partly descend. Why are Bell Beakers at most 50% Steppic and not 75% Steppic?

      I'm not saying M269 is from Western Europe, I'm saying the math doesn't work,

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  3. In light of this (migration from Eastern Europe to the west), what do you think of the connection of the Middle Neolithic to the Eastern European Mesolithic centered around the Danubian gorge? IIRC, one of the foremosts expert on European rock art, Emmanuel Anati, called the distinctive idols of Lepenski Vir 'proto-statue-menhirs' and alluded to the possibility that these could be the source of the stelae that seem to appear out of nowhere in both the steppe and Western Europe (esp. France & Switzerland).

    Quite an unlikely scenario perhaps since the archaeological record is so sketchy, but the distinctive developments of the West European Middle Neolithic do seem to precede the intrusion of proper steppe-like (i.e. CHG-rich) aDNA.

    The morphological differences you described are interesting. I dimly remember that Coon described the CW immigrants as extremely long-faced and dolichocephalic, no? So quite dissimilar to those Beakers.

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    1. I'm not familiar with Anati, I'll have to check that out.
      I think that the mystery of the profound rise in CHG in the steppe could be related to the questions of the Western Europe MN. The rise CHG wasn't insignificant, accidental or the result of conquest by CHG men.
      It could be that HG's found a niche that allowed the to overwhelm sedentary peoples. Pastoralism and horses are possible explanation.

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  4. What percentage of CHG ancestry do British Beakers show?

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    1. I'm not quite sure , but it would be equivalent to Dutch and German Beakers most likely.
      An interesting individual to look at would be the Boscombe Beaker, but the genomes are not released yet.

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  5. Super interesting brah. Yeah, we still don't know where North Beaker folk came from. I tend to think, based only on genetics, they were a new population from east of France with no local "Atlantic" admixture.

    And also I think their EEF/WHG and Steppe ancestry came strictly from two groups (a native one and a Steppe one). The EHG/WHG group may have been Funnel Beaker folk and the Steppe group may have been Yamnaya.

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    1. Thanks. I look forward to seeing the Olalde genomes released. That'll keep us busy for a while.

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  6. I keep reading about BBs, and I still don't have a clear picture. In fact, more info just seems to muddy the H2O.

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  8. Did you read this already: http://sci-hub.io/10.1073/pnas.1706355114

    It looks like the Bell Beakers really laid the groundwork for the alpine cultures of the metal ages that would expand in the late bronze age to change the linguistic landscape of Europe. Interestingly, the authors report instances of wealth status being conferred through the maternal line. The transition of BBC -> EBA in Bavaria seems to be marked by the influx of northern women (I presume from Epi-Corded-Ware sites?), specifically from Bohemia and Central Germany.

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  9. Thanks for the heads up. I'll check it out

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  10. I've wondered if people with hunter-gatherer ancestry in Eastern and Central Europe in the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age maintained a sense of having a distinct ethic identity and gravitated to non-agricultural occupations like trading and metal-working. If that's the case, this could have lead to a shift in the genetic make-up of Europe as these professions became more economically important, and more robust long-distance trade networks were established during the Bell Beaker period.

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    1. They seem to have remained separate for a long time based on my understanding of the EN and MN. Not sure how that factors though

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