Thursday, May 10, 2018

Hepititis B-eaker (Muhleman et al, 2018)

The Dailymail reports:

"Strain of hepatitis B found on a 4,500-year-old skeleton is the oldest human virus ever to be discovered"   .

As promised by David Reich, research into ancient remains is yielding information that may help conquer some of our most deadly diseases.

Glockenbechergrab ORF.

Although HBV is now known to be millions of years old, scientists are trying to understand how and when it started infecting mammals and finally humans.  Some theories suggest it was party to the OOA exodus, others say it may be more recent.

The infected Bell Beaker man was RISE563 from the cemetery of Osterhofen-Altenmarkt, Germany.  In addition RISE386 from the Sintashta Culture in Russia and a number of other Scythian related groups of Asia have HBV infections of different variants.

The Bell Beaker and a few other individuals belong to a HBV sister clade of the Chimpanzee-Gorilla node, which these scientists points to a more recent infection from Africa spreading into Eurasia.  But a cluster HBV clades in Asian steppe pastoral cultures point to some variants having a deeper history in Eurasia, however deep.

The position taken in this paper is that HBV diversity in moderns is not that informative in light of the high mobility seen in these samples and in recent papers.  (In fact, this grave at Altenmarkt was shown by Douglas Price et al years ago to belong to a high mobility isotopic group)  With that and the extinction of this old clade, the scientist claim that HBV may be overwriting its geographic positions and that the only way to formulate a hypothesis of its human relationship is through direct evidence on ancient human remains.

* News outlets are reporting that the oldest sample is 7,000 years old.  That's because they cut and paste each other without reading the paper.  RISE563 is the oldest reported in this paper.

"Ancient hepatitis B viruses from the Bronze AGe to the Medieval period"
Nature 2018.  Muhlemann, Willerslev et al. doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0097-z 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Bear Claw to LPIE

A lot of fur has been flying in the PIE debate recently which has been brought about by the addition of the most recent Near East genomes.  Enjoy the wonder while you can.


I'm now going to take a big bear claw to the notion that PIE can exist without EHG.  A number of the chief Harvard scientists are essentially suggesting this possibility, Lararidis, 2018.  As a consequence, LPIE becomes a chapter in a kaleidoscope narrative.  I'm all about some Gordon Whitakker Proto-Euphratean, but that's a separate topic.  This is about PIE, exterior day 1.


I'll offer a short narrative below to mete out where I think the stronger points can be found to dispel a southern, one half of itself origin.  Maybe I'll expand on these later.


"Strange Wives Part 1"

1.  Proto-Indo-European was the inevitable development of a world-system seeking to gain access to patrilocal, riverine communities in its periphery.  Traders cemented their interests with these fisher-woodsmen around the northern half and western inlets of the two seas the old fashioned way - by making them cousins.  Look no further than academia or entertainment to see what factors drive marriage decisions (and to see how quickly they dissolve when nepotic incentives dry up).  For incipient IE, this had to have happened at leadership levels and perhaps on a more massive scale involving women.

Since these rather small riverine villages were strongly patrilocal, the issues of trade - protection, passage and privilege - could be cultivated by the marriage of a southern-speaking daughter to the foreign lord, with loyalties and shared interests being nursed and expanded generation after generation.  There was an incentive for southern outfits in this global economy to develop these relationships, if for no other reason than to crowd out competing interests.

Make no mistake, the contribution of southern ancestry in PIE (the steppe) originates from this sophisticated world-system on a continuous basis, not some well-positioned archaeological culture in the northern reaches.  These northern and southern ancestries combined to create PIE.

The development of PIE at its most fundamental level requires interaction between these two spheres.  In all likelihood, a global trade language emanating from the Southern Caucasus/Northern Euphrates was widely understood in the basins of both seas, its river villages, and - apparently in many northern homes.  Perhaps a dynamic was in place for hundreds and hundreds of years in which very fertile crescenters overwhelmed the men of renown.

"Strange Wives Part 2"

2.  What is Late Proto-Indo-European?  What should it be?

LPIE is the Corded Ware-ization of the surviving IE groups, excluding Anatolian, Tocharian and Euphratean (if that exists, which I think it does).  That means all surviving IE cultures, to which I would include the Bell Beakers, have significant CW ancestry by different means.  In the case of the Beakers, it is strangely female-mediated over a short segment of time.

Am I wrong about those points?


One point worth considering is the similar but different situation at transitioning Lepenski Vir.  A similar bridal arrangement tamed these patrilocal barbarians, except the stream of ladies is coming from Western Anatolia it seems.  You can see the social process is similar, and necessary.  What this shows is that the situation was the rule, not the exception.

It's exceedingly difficult to see IE developing south of the seas.  The social and linguistic ingredients just aren't there.  Well, half of it is.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Iberian After All (Alberto's Runs)

Let's look at a Szigetzentmiklos Bell Beaker with zero Steppe ancestry, grave 49, I2741.

Previously, I had wondered if this guy was a Spaniard.  I'm pasting what Eurogenes Alberto came up with, although I don't know what methodology or tool he's using (otherwise I'd comment on everything)

Beaker_Hungary_no_steppe:I2741

Iberia_Southwest_CA 48.44%
Czech_MN 28.91%
Baden_LCA 6.25%
Tisza_LN 4.69%
Wales_N 3.91%
Globular_Amphora 3.12%
Koros_HG:I4971 3.12%
Ukraine_Eneolithic:I4110 1.56%
Distance 1.875%

Everything looks pretty square for a guy from Budapest...... except for the Iberia_Southwest_CA 48.44%!
How about another one.

Grave 2 Beaker, (Moslein, 2005)

This is one of two brothers that have the same mother in Alburg, Bavaria, Germany.  Maternally H1e1a.  Since CWC is excluded from these analysis (which is fine), we get inflated Yamnaya, Ukraine and Sweden MN, since it wants to find a big chunk of CW that isn't there.  This small cemetery is described by Heyd as belonging to the later begleitkeramik phase, so we should have a trickle of weird Balkanesque stuff that became increasingly prominent in those Csepel communities early on.  Check.

Again in this example, we're poking around at SW Europe in the mid to low teens.  And what is the inspiration for a decoration such as this?

Beaker_Central_Europe:I3588

Sweden_MN 33.59%
Yamnaya_Samara 33.59%
Ukraine_Eneolithic:I6561 14.06%
Iberia_Central_CA 11.72%
LBKT_MN 5.47%
Greece_N 1.56%

Distance 2.3907%


Most of these folks are within a few generations of being mixed so it's especially important to look at individuals and context.

Anyhow, Iberian (or wherever) is all over the place, albeit very unevenly distributed if real.  Hopefully someone can try Hegenheim again.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Beaker G25 Ancestry Runs (Rocca)

I thought I'd cut and paste some of R. Rocca's early Beaker ancestry runs from Anthrogenica.
Check out his comments.

I'd have preferred to do this myself, but I just don't have time for anything at the moment.  But Rocca's runs are plenty for some commentary, so I'll highlight some of his observations and add a few more with snips from his post.

The first thing he does is take the oldest, directly-dated Bell Beakers and sees what they prefer among Neolithic European populations.  Makes sense.  Here's a snip from the oldest Beaker, a Dutchman.

================================================== ====
>> Beaker_The_Netherlands:I5748
>> 2579–2233 calBCE (3945±55 BP, GrN-6650C)
>>> P312+
================================================== ====
[1] "distance%=2.2331"

CWC_Germany,70
France_MLN,11.4
CWC_Baltic_early,6.8
Yamnaya_Kalmykia,3.8
Yamnaya_Samara,3
Ukraine_Mesolithic,2.6
CWC_Baltic,1.4
Samara_Eneolithic,1
Beaker_Iberia,0
Remedello_BA,0

Comment #1.  You can see that like almost all Bell Beakers, the Dutchman has a very strong affinity for the Corded Ware people, either the German CWC or the Baltic CWC in various proportions.  Except in the Dutchman's case using this measure, it is a whopping 80%.

What you see in these Beakers and other runs are digits for Comb Ware, GAC, Narva or Sweden MN.  This is unquestionably NE European influence coming very directly from the Corded Ware Cultures.  The expansion of CWC in Europe was probably multi-polar, fluid and web-like, so the differences in digits among individuals might reflect the personal genealogies of particular wagon bands.  (being more or less of Swedish Battle Axe, Moravian, Dutch Single Grave, Baltic, etc, etc.)

Culturally this makes a lot of sense to me.  Phenotypically it makes sense.  The very first Mittle-Saale Beaker made sense as being half local CWC and something else.

It's not lost on me that there is a significant presence of R1b in the Narva Baltic where the CWC intruded, but that's a lot late and apparently the wrong stuff, plus we'd be looking at huge chunks of Narva (not the case).

Next, a Z2103 Malopolskan.
================================================== ====
>> Beaker_Poland:I4253
>> Z2103+
>> 2456–2207 calBCE (3850±20 BP, PSUAMS-2339)
================================================== ====
[1] "distance%=2.2247"

CWC_Germany,44.4
Yamnaya_Ukraine,14.2
Vucedol,11.1
Portugal_MN,10.1
Yamnaya_Bulgaria,10.1
Iberia_Southwest_CA,6.6
Blatterhole_MN,1.6
Armenia_ChL,1.4
Poltavka,0.5

Comment #2.  Rocca notes that this Beaker is interesting in that he has a respectable chunk of Vucedol ancestry that his clan and most non-Iberian Beakers lack entirely.  I'm either right or wrong about this (I don't care in the slightest), but I'm pretty sure that a few individuals in Csepel Island, and by extension the Malopolskan region, have direct Yamnaya influence from the Tisza River region and south of this.  In fact, there's cultural influence to suggest this scenario.

I'm not denying the relatedness of the Yamnaya and Beaker Y-chromosomes.  Instead I'm just pointing out that it just ain't that simple, people.  Yes, I'm suggesting Bell Beakers and Yamnaya mixed within an erogenous zone. [cymbal shot]  I mean contact zone.


Now the Italian
================================================== ====
>> Beaker_Northern_Italy:I2478
>> P312+
>> 2194–1939 calBCE (3671±40 BP, LTL-5035A)
================================================== ====
[1] "distance%=2.6952"

CWC_Germany,38.7
Iberia_Southwest_CA,35.4
Czech_MN,14.3
Yamnaya_Bulgaria,7.3
Armenia_ChL,4.3
Beaker_Iberia,0
Remedello_BA,0

Comment #3.  None of the Continental Beakers like them some Remedello, not even the Italian.  But Remedello, Vucedol and SW Iberia seem to have something together not insignificant.  He asks if this is the Stelae Road.  Some-'ems up, don't know what.


================================================== ====
>> Remedello:RISE489
>> I2a-M26
>> 2908-2578 calBCE (4185±70 BP, ETH-12188)
================================================== ====
[1] "distance%=2.3032"

Spain_LNCA,29.5
Koros_EN,17.1
Czech_MN,14.6
Iberia_Southwest_CA,14.5
Tisza_LN,11.5
Vucedol,8.2
Iberia_Central_CA,4.6

================================================== ====
>> Vucedol:I3499
>> 2884-2666 calBCE (4176±28 BP, BRAMS-1304)
>> R1b1a1a2a2-Z2103
================================================== ====
[1] "distance%=2.2451"

Remedello_BA,31.4
Yamnaya_Kalmykia,27.6
Anatolia_ChL,25.4
Tisza_LN,15
Levant_N,0.6

================================================== ====
>> Iberia_SW_Chalcolithic:I6601
>> 2800–2600 BCE (No radiocarbon dates, but only Copper Age Portugese sample)
>> I2
================================================== ====
[1] "distance%=3.2808"

Iberia_ChL,50
Portugal_MN,21.2
Remedello_BA,18.6
Czech_MN,7.9
Tisza_LN,2.3

Comment #4  Clearly, Bell Beakers are poking all around at low levels in the Yamnayo-sphere.  What I've seen here and in other runs is something that splits between Kalmykia and Bulgaria.  If we go back to the Dutch Beaker at the top of the page, there isn't a whole lot of clutter.  Basically we have a fairly clean ancestry of 80% Corded Ware 10% France MN/LN and 10% Yamnaya.

I5748 is early enough and clean enough that he could probably tell you about his great-grandparents on his mom and dad's sides.  Would he tell you that his father's side were full-blooded Yamnaya immigrants or is this an indication that we should be more careful in examining early steppe influence in NE France and Germany?

If you got runs, by all means post them.   

Update
Thanks to R. Rocca for posting these at Anthrogenica, I'll put up Alberto's next, then Andrew K's.

Car Boot Beakers

The DailyMail reports on a box of miscellaneous stuff (probably from an old detectorist) that turned-up at a car boot sale.  Inside was a folded-up work of Beaker gold.



The foil has the characteristic points around the edge, certainly Beaker period.  Not sure how long the unfurled foil was, but it looks longer than the description.









Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Cotton Henge to be Bulldozed

Cotton Henge, a 4,000 year old ditched enclosure, will be dozed to make room for a new warehouse that will go out of business in 4 years.  Video interviews in the link.

"Growing anger over new development on top of prehistoric monument"  ITV



I want to put this in context so you can be properly pissed.  The developer and land owner already knew of the existence of the Neolithic ditched enclosure.  Features like this are clearly marked on the plat, the geological-topographical survey, county maps, archaeological surveys and numerous other documents.  > and websites Megalithic UK

Most of the time, springs, mines, small cemeteries, old wells and other such features are marked on the documents used to transfer property.  So if you want to build a warehouse, don't buy a tract and pretend you didn't know there was a 4,000 year old ditched enclosure when you signed the papers.

As a land owner, depending on the country, you have full legal rights to a tract of land including all minerals, water courses, surface and timber rights, so long as they are properly conveyed without reservations.  However, if that tract of land contains a small cemetery or items of archaeological significance you do not have the power to control those because they ARE THE NATURAL RESERVATION of the former owners (or at least a public interest).  You don't have rights to certain waters, easements or public concerns, like hunting endangered species or damming up a navigable creek.

What has happened here is that the developer is claiming that he has been unfairly burdened by the "discovery of an relatively unimportant archaeological site" and that rescue archaeology is the reasonable compromise to satisfy archaeology and development.  Look closely at what their doing.

Here's the thing.  Try to build a picket fence in the village of Cotton without fifty permits from the county and get shot down every time because of the thrity thousand regulations in the building code.  This is a fast-talking company that is twisting the ethical norms for a cheap return.  They give two shits about the local people or their heritage.

The long term damage isn't the loss of one archaeological site, it's that the very concept of rescue archaeology is damaged by shenanigans like this.  Plus the definition of what rescue archaeology is expanded from "oh crap, our dozer hit a stone cist" to one in which the archaeologists drive up to a site driving a cement mixer.  The mutual cooperation and trust between developers, archaeologists, city planners, private property owners, and the citizenry is eroded.  That isn't good for anybody.

See also,
Northhamptonshire Telegraph




Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Likely Beaker in Looe

Following the untimely passing of Jean Manco, a fitting follow-on in the West Country.

Dr. Katherin Frieman of Austrailian National University begins excavation Easter Sunday on an Early Bronze Age barrow outside the fishing village of Looe in Cornwall. Heritage Daily and Science Daily.

Pasture outside Looe (Looe fishing tours)
It sounds like a respectable grave in tin country, hopefully Dr. Frieman will keep the newspaper photographers busy!

*Update 4/19.  Excavators discovered a burial urn.  Will add link later.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Jean Manco (in memoriam)

I just read from Anthrogenica that Jean Manco passed away Palm Sunday from cancer.  Very sad to hear.

She wrote several books about the peopling of Europe and she commented on Beakerblog a few times.  Jean also wrote about the architectural history of Bath and Bristol and spent her career in the West Country.


Funny how things work, sometimes we cross paths in different times and in different ways.  She was an expert on Bath Abbey.  Several of my ancestors are buried in the Bath abbey, and I'm grateful for Jean and those that preserve the past and seek to learn more about it.

Her avatar in various forums and websites was the Owl of Athena, which had a special significance to her in the quest for ancient truths and appreciation for wisdom and the arts.  She will be missed.


Sincerest Condolences to her family.

Biography at archaeology wiki


Jean speaking "Who are the Celts?" Youtube

Eursasians, Iberomaurusians & Bell Beakers

With some new genomics data coming out of North Africa, let's try and wring out some potential implications for our interest, the Beaker Phenomenon. (Pleistocene North African genomes link Near Eastern and Sub-Saharan African human populations" Van de Loosdrecht et al, 2018)



Here's the recent history of West North Africa based on the last several studies.

1.  Iberomaurusian is an ancient, distinct and persistent ancestry in northwestern and northcentral North Africans.  Both Natufians and Iberomaurusians have a low (6-7%) affinity to Yoruba, but Yoruba itself has a chunk of something weird in about the same frequency.  A ghost may be lurking the corridors.
Anyhow, the picture is somewhat muddled for this genetic group since we're still mostly using modern Africans to model ancient and highly diverged ones.  The important takeaway though is this, we can firmly name those components associated with the local Paleolithic and any newcomers.

2.  In the epi-Paleolithic/Neolithic transition around the coast of Morocco, the first Cardium Neolithic ancestry significantly adds to Iberomaurusian rather than replacing it.  We see this in Fregel et al, 2017.
That's important because if any Neolithic population were to leave this area and venture into Neolithic Europe, it would certainly carry this Iberomaurusian component to some minor degree.  If Early Neolithic Atlantic Europeans don't have any trace of this in future analyses, then that severely challenges any role North Africa would have in the Neolithization of the western coast of Europe.

3.  A very strong pulse of Continental European ancestry enters Late Neolithic North Africa that appears proportionally similar to some populations in the Middle Neolithic of France and Germany, notably the Salzmunde and Baalberge. Fregel et al, 2017 This is where a lot of questions keep coming back.

First of all, the maternal profiles of some Oasis Berber and Canary populations are similar to the haplogroup frequencies associated with some MN populations of Western Europe.  It's clear there is some ancient shared ancestry beyond blood alleles and mtdna, and no it's not Roman or Medieval.

When we look at the ethnogenesis of Fula people in the Senegal-Gambia region, we have several odd things to look at.

It looks as if R1b-V88 in North Africa comes recently from Southern Europe, which itself is not surprising.  What is surprising is that the time frame in which V88 would branch from Southern Europe (Sardinia?, this study; Iberia?) and that it puts us within an archaeological timeframe in which there is heavy communication between Iberia and NW Africa.  In the Beaker period, there appear to be cultural inflows and outflows, but a lot of directionality in the Beaker period.  Then there is the presence of T-13910 in Africa which needs some splain'n.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe all of the Barcelona Bell Beakers were T-13910, which is interesting given the fact that the same Paris Street Beaker males were also R1b-V88 or close.
There's many aspects to this, but at this point I don't care.  Bring forth the DNA!!


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Bell Beaker Using RADON-B

Data nerds will like this website,  RADON-B
They have about 222 Beakers in the database along with reference material for each individual.  For large archaeological complexes that were migratory (and whose data is spread across 20-something languages), this can be a handy tool.

Snip of Kornice Beaker from RADON-B
Understanding how to interpret the data is necessary to make any useful sense of it.  Of those that understand it, Beakers have been shown to forma cultural cline from Southwest Europe to Northwest Europe.  (One of RADON-B's contributors is Johannes Müller, who along with Van Willigen, established that directionality in 2001.

It is curious to see a number of early dates in other places, such as the Netherlands and Hungary.  The earliest Beaker date appears to be in Csepel-Háros, but Muller and Van Willigen consider these contexts, source materials and data quality in the larger picture (page 73).


A lot of folks are in this database which can be sorted by date, geography, or cultural attributes.  You can export a selected group (Beakers) directly into an excel spreadsheet for analysis.  Since I hate math and have no time, it won't be me.  Good luck.




"Problems with the Periodization of the Early Bronze Age in the Carpathian Basin in Light of the Older and Recent AMS Radiocarbon Data"  Géza SZABÓ, 2017. Archeometriai Műhely 2017/XIV./2.HU

"Chronology and Bell Beaker Common Ware"  Martine Piguet and Marie Besse, 2009 RADIOCARBON, Vol 51, Nr 2, 2009, p 817–830

"Bell Beakers in Spain and Portugal: Working with radiocarbon dates in the 3rd millennium BC"  Richard J. Harrison, 1988 Antiquity 62(236):464-472 · September 1988

"Beaker People in Britain: migration, mobility and diet" MP Pearson et al, 2017.  Durham University http://dx.doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2016.72

Monday, March 19, 2018

Blood and Guts Bronze Age (Horn & Kristiansen, 2018)

"Warfare in Bronze Age Society" is a work about the global emergence of militarized, heroic societies that seeded the early military aristocracies.  It's a time of plenty and plunder, warriors and other men (Skogstrand, 2016).  For belligerent societies where "bellicose masculinity" was loudly displayed, it is also irony that the European population doubled in it's first 500 years (2,000 - 1,500 BC).     

This work is edited by Christian Horn and Kristian Kristiansen but include various experts looking at the different aspects of warriors, weapons and warfare of the Bronze Age.  The first three chapters are free to view.

Tollense River Battle (ScienceMag)

Chapters:

Introducing Bronze Age warfare (Christian Horn and Kristian Kristiansen)

Bronze Age encounters – violent or peaceful? (Anthony Harding)

Warfare and the political economy: Europe 1500–1100 BC (Kristian Kristiansen)

Warfare vs exchange? – thoughts on an integrative approach (Christian Horn)

Maritime warfare in Scandinavian rock art (Johan Ling and Andreas Toreld)

Bronze weaponry and cultural mobility in Late Bronze Age Southeast Europe (Barry Molloy)

The emergence of specialized combat weapons in the Levantine Bronze Age (Florian Klimscha)

Beyond the grave – crafting identities in the Middle Bronze Age Southern Trans Urals (Derek Pitman and Roger Doonan)

Carp's tongue swords and their use: functional, technological, and morphological aspects (Marc Gener)

Warfare or sacrifice? Archaeological research on the Bronze Age site in the Tollense Valley, Northeast Germany (Gundula Lidke, Ute Brinker, Detlef Jantzen, Anne Dombrowsky, Jana Dräger, Joachim Krüger and Thomas Terberger)

Violence and ritual in Late Bronze Age Britain: weapon depositions and their interpretation (Tobias Mörtz)

'Warrior graves' vs warrior graves in the Bronze Age Aegean (Ioannis Georganas)

The Chief and his sword? Some thoughts on the swordbearer's rank in the Early Nordic Bronze Age (Jan-Heinrich Bunnefeld)

Body aesthetics, fraternity, and warfare in the long European Bronze Age – postscriptum (Helle Vandkilde)

Tollense Warriors (ScienceMag)

See also [Danish Halberds] ; [Dents in our Confidence] ; [Unetice Armies?] ; [Death by Combat] ;

And also
"Violence and Virility" Horn, 2013
"Harm's Way: An Approach to Change and Continuity in Prehistoric Combat" Horn, 2014


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

2 BA Iberians

Two Bronze Age Iberians look like Eastern France Beakers.  One is DF27. 

Epi-Cardial is genetically Cardial + the letters Epi. 

The Basques look close to LN/CHL

Some other interesting stuff.  See Bernard'blog in sidebar

Monday, March 12, 2018

Kin in Kornice (PAP)

Science in Poland has this "Unusual journey of culture in prehistoric Europe" on a Beaker cemetery in Kornice, Poland.

Kornice Beaker, 1561, (Maksym Mackiewicz UWr via PAP)
You learn a little from everywhere...
"Our samples from several sites in Lower and Upper Silesia were analysed in the Reich Laboratory of David Reich from the Department of Genetics of Harvard Medical School in Boston by the team led by David Reich and Iñigo Olalde" - explains Dr. Furmanek in the materials sent by the University of Wroclaw. - "The largest number of samples comes from the extremely interesting Bell-Beaker culture cemetery in Kornice, in the commune of Pietrowice Wielkie in Silesia. With regard to these burials, we have also obtained interesting information about family relationships between some of the dead. We have identified a father and two of his children - a son and a daughter".
It'd be interesting to see how much admixture existed between the father and his wife.

More on this cemetery and Silesia
"New data for resear on the Bell Beaker Culture in Upper Silesia Poland"

In the news [Link]

Thursday, March 8, 2018

All About Iberia (Goncalves, 2017)

This is a large 2017 compendium on Iberian Bell Beakers (linked below) with a lot of attention on Portugal and Southern Spain.  The leading archaeologists from the corners of the peninsula presented their cases knowing the early results of the Olalde et al, 2017 pre-print.




Iberia is not that simple for beakers and you get a sense of that reading from the authors presenting here.  It's hard to interpret Iberian Beakers as a coherent group when they are so inconsistent from site to site, region to region.  But it's important to remember the size of the peninsula when overlayed on a map of Europe.  It's a huge area with great human numbers of diverse backgrounds in ancient times.  So rather than saying there is an Iberian Beaker, there's probably several different Beaker nations or traveling groups that were in a constant state of flux and having slightly different cultural backgrounds. 

One of the Portuguese Olalde samples was a 'Beaker without Bell Beakers' as presented by Zilhao.  That's a complicated situation when the individual is only classified as Beaker by a scrap of gold, two buttons and turns up genomically Neolithic (not saying that's wrong).  But identity isn't always as simple as the Amesbury Archer.

And then Goncalves seems to suggests in the introduction that acacia decoration is found outside of Iberia everywhere in a very low degree which would be interesting. (again the translation is garbled, I may have misinterpreted this)



Gonçalves, V. S. (Ed.). (2017). Sinos e Taças. Junto ao oceano e mais longe. Aspectos da presença campaniforme na Península Ibérica. Lisboa: UNIARQ - Centro de Arqueologia da Universidade de Lisboa.  http://hdl.handle.net/10451/31912

Universidade de Lisboa, UNIARQ download [Link]

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Epigentic traits of Bohemian Beakers (Czarnetzki, 1976)

In 1969 Alfred Czarnetzki examined a collection of ancient skulls spanning the Late Neolithic, Beaker Period and the Aunjetitz (Unetice) Culture in Bohemia, Czechoslovakia.  His analysis of early epigenetic and non-metric traits got a supporting boost from the recent Olalde paper.

Although he and his colleagues had examined numerous traits in this set, in the article he chose to focus on persistent metopism for discussion.  Commonly believed to be an epigenetic trait, he discusses the frequencies of males and females among these remains and makes some comments about gender-based mobility, ethnic intermingling and population continuity.
"Metopic Suture" Cambridge Anatomy

Persistent metopism is different from metopic craniosynostosis in that the rather than the premature fusion of the plates, the fibrous sutures between plates persist through adulthood creating a sort of soft line.

Czarnetzki found (here free to read at JSTOR after registering) what appeared to be a clear break between the Late Neolithic and the Bell Beaker where the incidence in the females is reduced in half.  The frequency between Bell Beaker and Unetice is similar, which is viewed as population continuity.  Only looking at this one trait, he proposed that during the Bell Beaker period there had being a influx of immigrants that was male-biased into the local population.  During the Beaker period he sees a leveling of sorts with male immigrants and local women, this in turn is expressed in new frequencies during Unetice.

Metopism does not appear to be correlated with common head shapes and it's probably not useful other than looking at local populations within a short period.  But older studies like this deserve a victory lap for being a vanguard of new anthropological data and for being right at the wrong time.

"Epigenetic traits: The change of frequencies during the Neolithic-Bronze Age Transition in Bohemia"  Anthropologie XIV/1,2 Alfred Czarnetzki (1976)


If I don't flunk out of this, I'll try to do some modeling of different Beaker populations within the coming days and weeks.  If you have anything of your own, please post in the comments section.  There's enough genomes now to start making some real use of what's available.  More to follow.


Saturday, March 3, 2018

Frog Pose or Yamna Repose?

Although the male in grave 3 is not included in the current Olalde paper, his burial pose is more interesting now with the revelation that one of his apparent kin (I4253) is Z2103.  These residents were from a small cemetery in Samborzec, Little Poland and genetically tested in "The Beaker Phenomenon and the Genomic Transformation of Northwestern Europe"

In a paper entitled "Yamnaya Groups and Tumuli West of the Black Sea", Volker Heyd made this comment regarding the orientation of bodies in the Western Yamnaya:
"The position of the body in the [Yamna] grave pit is typically supine with the flexed legs...Flexed legs are often still upright, even after thousands of years in the graves, but may have also fallen to one side due to decomposition of the body tissues.  Also, the so-called frog-position of the legs might be due to this process of decay."
Male Archer looking East.  Samborzec, stanowisko 1, grave 3 (Makarowicz)
I've discussed frog-burials in this post "The Samborzec Sage" and my interpretation was that these could have been devaraja poses of high status males that had relaxed within the container.  But Heyd's comment makes more sense after looking again at grave 3's clearly supine position. 

The legs of grave 3 may have originally looked like this, which is how Yamna people were buried.

So now the fun part.  What does this mean?  Z2103 is now in two Beaker graves I2787, I7044 from Szigetszentmiklos and I4253 from Samborzec.  A man at Samborzec appears to have been buried with a mixture of Beaker and Yamnaya rites.  But what does the phylogeny mean in light of this?

One way to look at this is that there is a clear sign of a founder effect heading West.  Looking strictly at the phylogeny of R1b, and not taking anything else into consideration, this of course makes a lot of sense.  That solves it for a lot of people.  But extrapolating geo-phylogeny on an archaeological culture can be a problem when the two are in apparent disagreement.

Another way to look at it (until Western kurgans prove or disprove the presence of L51/P312) is that in the highly heterogeneous border outpost of the Csepel populations (and by extension the closely related Samborzec community), Bell Beakers and Yamnaya, confusingly, actually mixed to a small and unimportant degree.

Within these old Beaker cemeteries of Békásmegyer, Budakalasz, Szigetszentmiklós, Bell Beakers appear as a minority that increases but it is clear that there are different peoples mixing at these sites and that mixing is a cultural trajectory away from Bell Beaker.

I2787 at Szigetszentmiklos could be a red herring or it could provide a connection. While it's obvious Beaker is paternally related to Z2103 and shares a similar ideaology, and while a bunch of scenarios and chronologies are possible, drawing straight arrows from one to the other is an over-simplification or wrong.

But in any case, this one grave is an interesting one with mixed traits.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Brother From Another Mother?

I have no way to verify, but some commentors are saying that two Bell Beakers in Barcelona (I0257 and I0261) in the Nature paper are R1b-V88 or slightly ancestral.  Neither of them have Steppe-related ancestry.

Freeze! 
Beaker inspired Kerma Ware? (1900 BC Nubia, Jan Turek?)

Over a week ago, Razib Khan talked about this new paper "The peopling of the last Green Saraha revealed by high-coverage resequencing of trans-Saharan patrilineages" by D'Atanasio et al, 2018.

In it, the authors attribute the star-like explosion of R1b-V88 in the Green Sahara to a rather recent coalescence period about 5,000 ago with an entrance from Sardinia (or S. Europe) ranging between this coalescence age and something up to two thousand years earlier.  I previously called the curious presence of R1b in the circum-Sahara a "grass fire pattern" phenomenon.

Here's what the D'Antanasio authors wrote:
"The peculiar topology of the R-V88 sequenced samples suggests that the diffusion of this haplogroup was quite rapid and possibly triggered by the Saharan favourable climate"
After this back-coalescence date, the Sahara began a rapid desiccation with some fairly strong pulses of catastrophic and permanent drought.  That event is revealed in the structure of V88's African phylogeny.  The D'Antanasio people rightly figure that the remnant of this dead zone can be partially re-created by looking at moderns in the peripheries.  Very clearly they believe that R1b-V88, now common among certain cattle pastoralist nations across the Sahel, are partially descended from populations that once populated this region.

 Before jumping through the computer with a retort, a commentor on Anthrogenica asks this very reasonable question in response (translated):
"The question remains unanswered, where did [V88] cross the Mediterranean and why is it the only one of the old [European] haplogroups to have done it with success...?"
If D'Antanasio is correct that African V88 plugs into a larger European phylogeny of a certain age, then why is this one child clade found dominating certain cattle communities in Africa, but not a single one from the alphabet of European or Near Eastern lineages?  From an archaeological standpoint, at what point in the Holocene is this directionality in either direction possible?

Let me ask directly.  Does African V88 find its source in the Beaker communities of Iberia and the Mediterranean Islands?  Does it find its source in Southwest Iberia in the centuries before this?

This comment is not to suggest any direct relationship with the following culture, but it does ask if the stylistic influences of the Bell Beakers were close enough in proximity that their decoration was recognizable to distant others.  Here, in a paper entitled "The Beaker World and Otherness of the Early Civilizations", Jan Turek makes this comment:
"...in Nubia (namely in the present-day Sudan) began at this time, the development of Kerma Culture (Early Kerma, group C, Phase Ia-b 2500-2050 BC).  Ceramic of the Kerma culture has a remarkably similar ornaments as the Late Neolithic Saharan pottery and Bell Beaker in Northwestern Africa and Europe."
The last quote was added partly because of the convenience of having a convenient graphic available, but also it shows that beyond permanent settlements and pit graves that Beaker traders, long hunters and family bands could be found in the reaches.  Some people of the Saraha at this time are V88; connecting too many dots?

Honestly, I do not know the answer to the V88 question.  Right now it could still be partially associated with the Cardium expansion, but the window of possibilities continues to narrow.



Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Beaker Enigma No More?

Here's a media round-up from this week.

A good article at Haaretz by Ruth Schuster "For Whom the 'Bell Beaker' Tolls: One of Archaeology's Longest Running Mysteries Finally Solved" whose title is a play on a paper by Vander Linden.

Solved?  It did clarify some central questions, some that had obvious answers based on physical anthropology.  Relationship to Corded Ware?  Answer that.
Beaker Double Burial at Trumpington Meadows, Cambridge (Dave Webb, Cambridge Archaeological Unit)
In the Guardian article "Arrival of Beaker Folk Changed Britain for ever, Ancient DNA Study Shows", Ian Armit of the University of Bradford makes this comment:
“It’s not necessarily a story of violent conquest,” Armit said. “There is some evidence of a declining population and increased growth of forests, suggesting that agriculture was in decline. We could be looking at climate change, or even an epidemic of imported disease to which they had no resistance. But we certainly now have the evidence that they were replaced – and they never came back.”

Two of the Harvard samples, 18 year old male, 16 year old female, same grave (Dave Webb)
Another by the Daily Mail "How the builders of Stonehenge 5,000 years ago were almost completely wiped out by mysterious 'Beaker people' from the continent whose blood runs in Brit veins to this day"

Basically.  Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but at the moment we know next to nothing of the other islands, Ireland in particular.

A number of universities report the findings.

Hungarian Academy of Sciences "Practically the entire population of the British Isles was replaced"

Ludwig-Maximilians Universitat Munchen "Pots, people and knowledge transfer"

Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona "Ancient DNA reveals impact of the "Beaker Phenomenon" on prehistoric Europeans"

University of Cambridge "Ancient DNA reveals impact of the "Beaker Phenomenon" on Prehistoric Europeans"

Monday, February 26, 2018

Looking at Supp Info

Started looking at the Supplementary Info from the "Beaker Phenomenon and the Genomic Transformation of Northwest Europe".

Extended data (this paper)

Look at these numbers for the percentage of R1b.  Significant that of 34 British Neolithic, 0% are R1b 

- 27/27 Czech Beakers (whaaat)
- 20/21 British Beakers
- 6/6     French
- 8/9     Polish 
- 6/15   Spaniards are R1b
- 2/2     Swiss
- 7/7     Netherlands

- 23/26 Germany
- 1/1     Italy

Several of the above non-R1b lineages of Beakers are labeled P1, CT, CF, BT and F and then labeled as negative for this and that.  I imagine that's as far as they could be read with damage.  Any guesses as to what they would likely be?

- 6/13   Hungary

Hungary is a mixed bag and should be.

- 0/2     Portugal

Kind of ironic for a stylistic tradition that synthesizes contact between Portugal and Morocco.  But as the new Spaniards in the final paper show, every new genome adds a twist to the story.  Speaking of Portugal, two papers are out on Portuguese Bell Beaker and those explain a lot. 

1,000 Ancient Brits

Poster Dan sends this Science Daily article with comments by Reich and Cunliffe.

David Reich:
"the orthodoxy -- the assumption that present-day people are directly descended from the people who always lived in that same area -- is wrong almost everywhere."
"There was a sudden change in the population of Britain," says Reich. "It was an almost complete replacement." [Early Bronze Age]
Barry Cunliffe:

"absolutely sort of mind-blowing...They are going to upset people, but that is part of the excitement of it."
The article continues: 
For example, Reich's team is working with Cunliffe and others to study more than 1,000 samples from Britain to more accurately measure the replacement of the island's existing gene pool by the steppe-related DNA from the Bell Beaker people. "The evidence we have for a 90 percent replacement is very, very suggestive, but we need to test it a bit more to see how much of the pre-Beaker population really survived," explains Cunliffe.
"Amesbury Archer" Jane Brayne

Here's something interesting. The graph shows the population estimates for England and Wales over several thousand years.  Neolithic Britain had just started recovering from an apocalyptic crash before diving again on the eve of the Beaker invasion.  The population explodes during the Beaker centuries.

Looks like the Neolithics were already having big problems.  Plague?

Nature Supplement SI (Heyd, Fokkens, Kristiansen, Sjogren)

Here's the freely accessible seven page supplement to the Nature paper entitled "Archaeological background of the Beaker Complex"

It's only seven pages so click on the Academia link.

"Jan van Oostwoud" The Earliest Beaker Skeleton 575 (Fred Gijbels)

One thing they comment on is that houses of the Beakers Complex continue in the traditions of those regions.  Even when the genetic turnover was nearly total, such as in Britain, houses continue to be constructed as before.

I imagine this means that efficiency, building materials, and proven designs have a lot to do with house architecture rather than who builds them.  Also, well built houses can survive hundreds of years, so it's not as if the wheel needs to be constantly reinvented.

Three more Beaker papers in the queue concerning population movements.  Should have at least one tomorrow morning.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Lepenski Vir? (Harvard Beaker Notes)

Let's go back and revisit an old hypothesis before getting into these two papers from Nature (1, 2).

This hypothesis by Hervella (2015) was a new alternative to Brotherton (2013) concerning the dramatic rise of haplogroup H in MN Central Europe.  It's an important topic because most Beakers outside of Iberia are distinct for their impenatrable and exclusive male-cousinship and fairly elevated levels of mtdna H.  Examining Balkan mitolineages of the Neolithic, the Hervella people came up with an alternate hypothesis concerning H:
"...none of the models studied to date have taken into consideration another possible and obvious explanation, namely a new wave of Neolithic migration into Europe through the ‘traditional route’ of the Balkan Peninsula. This new wave of Neolithic migrations are represented by Vinča and Dudeşti cultures (5500–5000 BC), that trace their origin in North-West Anatolia on the basis of ceramics features [28]. The Boian, Zau and Gumelniţa cultures from Middle-Late Neolithic (M_NEO) from Romania are the direct continuation of this cultural complex; the M_NEO group from Romania displayed differences in haplotype (S5 Fig) and haplogroup distributions (S4 Fig) with the Middle Neolithic from Central Europe.
The hypothesized contribution of Middle Neolithic migrations from North-West Anatolia into the Balkan Peninsula and Central Europe may explain the position of the BBC (Late Neolithic in Central Europe), close to the M_NEO groups from Romania in the multivariate analysis (Figs 2 and 3)."
Mesolithic Lepenski Vir "Lotus Burial" Looking East (Boroneant & Bonsall, 2012)
*See also "Burial Practices in Iron Gates Mesolithic" [Link]

As of recently, we know Hervella's hypothesized NW Anatolian H-people were indeed expanding into the ancient domain of R1b in the Iron Gates region and Wallachian Plain.  This was already evident in the skeletal record...
"Human skeletons exhibit both extremely robust and gracile features throughout the sequence.. [between Mesolithic and Neolithic] (Dusan Boric, 2002 [Link])
So now let's expand on Southern Romania and Eastern Serbia at later R1b Lepenski Vir graves; we see a confirmation of the Hervella paper hypothesis in mtdna (75%) and confirmed by autosomal DNA with a single male being R1b 100%.
"A notable finding from the Iron Gates concerns the four individuals from the site of Lepenski Vir, two of whom (I4665 and I5405, 6200–5600 bc), have entirely northwestern-Anatolian-Neolithic-related ancestry. Strontium and nitrogen isotope data38 indicate that both these individuals were migrants from outside the Iron Gates region and ate a primarily terrestrial diet (Supplementary Information section 1). A third individual (I4666, 6070 bc) has a mixture of northwestern-Anatolian-Neolithic-related and hunter-gatherer-related ancestry and consumed aquatic foods, and a fourth and probably earlier individual (I5407) had entirely hunter-gatherer-related ancestry (Fig. 1d, Supplementary Information section 1). We also identify one individual from Padina (I5232), dated to 5950 bc, who had a mixture of northwestern-Anatolian-Neolithic-related and hunter-gatherer-related ancestry. These results provide genetic confirmation that the Iron Gates was a region of interaction between groups distinct in both ancestry and subsistence strategy."
What does that mean?  When we look at the end of Rossen in Western Europe and the emergence of sites like Gougenheim and Blatterhohle, we might see a source for certain cultural traits in certain SE European Cultures.

"The Beaker Phenomenon and the Genomic Transformation of Northwestern Europe" is published in Nature and makes this comment:
"at Szigetszentmiklós in Hungary, we found roughly contemporary Beaker-complex-associated individuals with very different proportions (from 0% to 75%) of steppe-related ancestry. This genetic heterogeneity is consistent with early stages of mixture between previously established European Neolithic populations and migrants with steppe-related ancestry. One implication of this is that even at local scales, the Beaker complex was associated with people of diverse ancestries."
I'd count Harvard's argument as evidence against a source for Beaker lineages.  Of all the male Bell Beaker lineages sequenced in Europe, the one Beaker with the highest proportion of Steppe DNA is Z2103 and in an area that was settled by Alpine Beakers from the West in an area adjacent to actual Yamnaya.  In other words, he is an outlier in several different ways, none of which point to him being ancestral to anyone further West.

I'm not saying L51 came from the West, it didn't.  But based on the evidence so far, Hungary isn't a stepping stone to Western Europe no matter how geographically convenient it may be.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Origin of Iberian Beakers (Bernard)

Read this post by Bernard "L'origine Ibérique de la culture Campaniforme mise à mal par la génétique".

You may wan to pop that into the Google translate.  Don't get too comfortable with any narrative yet.

There's about four big Beaker papers that just dropped.  It's dump truck season.  I'll try and get to those this evening.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Not Thy Botai (Gaunitz et al, 2018)

A poster at Eurogenes linked this from Science Magazine "Ancient DNA upends the horse family tree"

The dominant opinion on horse domestication has been that horse hunters progressively managed herds, earliest in the Botai Culture, and this interaction led to more extensive use of the horse as a work animal for busy hunter-gatherers.    

There was already a lot of skepticism to David Anthony's bit-wear analysis ("Botai and the Origins of Horse Domestication" Marsha A. Levine, 1998).  Much of the Botai evidence, such as lipid residues or accumulation of horse pies, are interpreted as supporting facts to other facts, whose correct interpretation is supported by those other facts, which contribute to the growing weight of facts that all point toward domestication and/or husbandry at this site.  I imagine Heidi Cullen flying over the Botai ranch on a broomstick.


In this paper "Ancient genomes revisit the ancestry of domestic and Przewalski's horse" (Gaunitz et al, 2018), the authors make it clear that Botai and Przewalski's are not in the line of modern domestics (at all).  They seem to fall into the same trap of assuming that the Botai horses actually had improved morphological features and that Przewalski's are just 'feral' domestics.

The Backbreeding Blog also questions the notion that Botai horses were substantially improved, being that it was so early and so short of a period that almost nothing about Przewalski's could be described as feral even if they were descended from Botai. 

The evidence for horse domestication is probably right under our nose (as seems to be case in Neolithic Europe) and those first horses and asses will be found to be deeply integrated in cattle herding societies that first made use of horses.  I'll put money on that.


There is a symbiotic relationship between some members of these animal families that may tell us a little about aurochs behavior and the behavior of Early Neolithic Taurine cattle.  Unfortunately, so many of these Eurasian animals are extinct or endangered that it's difficult to find large enough herds in a wild environment to study how the more social animals once behaved.  But the above cave painting might be a clue.  See this post Guard donkey.

Gaunitz et al figure about 2.5% of Botai in domestic lineages.  That might be a clue to how far west you need to go before you'd see a real horse several thousand years ago.  I'm guessing the European Plain.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Domesday, 4066 (Brace et al, 2018)


Even though population replacement should be expected at the start of the British Neolithic, the degree to which it appears to have occurred is stunning.  The numbers are roughly close to the ~93% figure that Harvard estimated in the Early Bronze Age (once you exclude the possibility of full-blooded Anatolians parachuting into the Isles).  In any case, take that percentage of surviving British HG's and then factor its surviving portion into the EBA.  It's not a lot, even in the extremities of the Isles.  In Wales, it's probably zero.  Stunning.

The notion of spear-chuckers snapping spears over their legs and adopting the farming lifestyle didn't happen in Britain.  It looks like they were just out-produced, out-bred and over-run.


Farmer baby machine aside, they make a comment that is difficult to escape...
"In summary, our results indicate that the progression of the Neolithic in Britain was unusual when compared to other previously studied European regions. Rather than reflecting the slow admixture processes that occurred between ANFs and local hunter-gatherer groups in areas of continental Europe, we infer a British Neolithic proceeding with little introgression from resident foragers – either during initial colonization phase, or throughout the Neolithic. This may reflect the fact that farming arrived in Britain a couple of thousand years later than it did in Europe. The farming population who arrived in Britain may have mastered more of the technologies needed to thrive in northern and western Europe than the farmers who had first expanded into these areas. A large-scale seaborne movement of established Neolithic groups leading to the rapid establishment of the first agrarian and pastoral economies across Britain, provides a plausible scenario for the scale of genetic and cultural change in Britain."

I'm eager to see if it's possible to tease out some structure to the farmer groups in Britain based on geography and cultural context.  It seems that could be the case.

Population Replacement in Early Neolithic Britain

Selina Brace1*, Yoan Diekmann2*, Thomas J. Booth1*, Zuzana Faltyskova2, Nadin Rohland3,
Swapan Mallick3,4,5, Matthew Ferry3,4,, Megan Michel3,4,, Jonas Oppenheimer3,4, Nasreen
Broomandkhoshbacht3,4, Kristin Stewardson3,4, Susan Walsh6, Manfred Kayser7, Rick
Schulting8, Oliver E. Craig9, Alison Sheridan10, Mike Parker Pearson11, Chris Stringer1, David
Reich3,4,5#, Mark G. Thomas2#, Ian Barnes1#
bioRxiv preprint first posted online Feb. 18, 2018; doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/267443.
[Link]

Abstract

The roles of migration, admixture and acculturation in the European transition to farming have been debated for over 100 years. Genome-wide ancient DNA studies indicate predominantly Anatolian ancestry for continental Neolithic farmers, but also variable admixture with local Mesolithic hunter-gatherers. Neolithic cultures first appear in Britain c. 6000 years ago (kBP), a millennium after they appear in adjacent areas of northwestern continental Europe. However, the pattern and process of the British Neolithic transition remains unclear. We assembled genome-wide data from six Mesolithic and 67 Neolithic individuals found in Britain, dating from 10.5-4.5 kBP, a dataset that includes 22 newly reported individuals and the first genomic data from British Mesolithic hunter-gatherers. Our analyses reveals persistent genetic affinities between Mesolithic British and Western European hunter-gatherers over a period spanning Britain's separation from continental Europe. We find overwhelming support for agriculture being introduced by incoming continental farmers, with small and geographically structured levels of additional hunter-gatherer introgression. We find genetic affinity between British and Iberian Neolithic populations indicating that British Neolithic people derived much of their ancestry from Anatolian farmers who originally followed the Mediterranean route of dispersal and likely entered Britain from northwestern mainland Europe.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Bracers of Budakalász (HORVÁTH, 2017)

In this paper Horvath examines stone equipment from the large Budapest cemetery, Budakalász, which lies on the West bank of the Danube in Hungary.

A number of stone items are interpreted as plausible metal-working equipment, including these large river pebbles with a straight groove.  A case is made that these were used to manufacture pins of sorts, either by casting, shaping or polishing.  One artifact shows evidence of what may be hot shaping from burn marks and the uniformity of the examples are noteworthy.

Cold molds or polishers? (snip, fig 5)


Most interesting is the take Horvath has on the functional use of the wrist guards.  He notes that most of these in Hungary, despite being located on the lower left arm, are actually placed on the outside of the arm rather than the inside.  Horvath makes this comment:

"Perhaps the wrist-guards were also used to sharpen the daggers (the copper’s hardness is 2.5–3 on the Mohs scale: since wrist-guards are harder, they could have been used for this purpose)"
I don't believe I've heard this particular argument before and it does make a lot of sense if the use-wear analysis supports this hypothesis.  Previously, I assumed these bracers were rotated to the outside of the arm when they weren't being actively used, but that really doesn't help much if they were set in a cuff.  Several streams of circumstantial evidence do suggest that many were only part of a larger cuff assembly.


Snip from fig 9
Like the other authors who have written on the topic of bracer placement (Folkens, Smith, Turek), putting percentages to the exact position of these bracer stones on arms doesn't have a clear answer because as Horvath notes, many of the Beaker graves were excavated before quality dig records were made and before this was a topic of interest.

Since copper is rather soft, blade edges would need to be re-shaped frequently.  The magnified micro-edge of the blade would tend to curl after several uses and this is essentially what curved honing steels do for modern knives. 

Finally, you can see that in fig 9 that some bracers were repaired after what should have been throw-away time for looks or any practical use as a bracer.  But they are still valued after repeated corner brakes.  Several other characteristics are worth a second look, like the fact that they are about the length of a blade and that these items die off with the emergence of bronze!?


"The stone implements and wrist-guards of the Bell Beaker cemetery of Budakalász (M0/12 site)" Vjesnik Arheološkog muzeja u Zagrebu, Vol.50 No.1 Prosinac 2017
[Link]

Monday, January 29, 2018

Beaker Classic (Convertini, 2017)

You might remember Oliver Lermercier's particular implantation model of Southeast France.  Very broadly it seeks to explain the interaction between native peoples in Provence and in Eastern Languedoc and their Beakerization by foreigners to some degree.  It uses Hellenization of the Mediterranean as a model for how numerically disadvantaged foreigners imposed culture and genetics on people, not totally, at least in the beginning.

Here, Convertini uses thin section pottery analyses to look at continuity and change in the pottery manufacture of this region between the Neolithic and Beaker Age.  He proposes two hypotheses, but his preferred one is a situation in which foreigners enter the region with foreign manufacturing techniques and a foreign style.  This is followed by a period in which native people are using native techniques to imitate the sinuous form of Beaker pottery and its character, and then this is followed by a gradual fusion/evolution.

All I have is the abstract, but please share the wealth if you have it and I'll update this post.

"Almost the Real Thing" (Treemix)

Les dégraissants des céramiques des sites d’Avignon (Vaucluse)nouvelles données, nouvelles visions de l’implantation du Campaniforme dans le Midi de la France

Abstract:

The thin section analysis of a series of Bell Beaker geometric dotted style ceramics and of a mixed beaker from the city of Avignon (Vaucluse) allowed us to consider the current state of our knowledge and to reflect in an innovative manner on the Bell Beaker implantation in the South of France. The starting point of the study showed that the majority of the clay resources are local and come from the exploitation of a natural mixture of Rhone alluvions and lateral carbonate contributions. Apart from the mixed beaker, ceramics made from these clays were all tempered only with crushed calcite. The places of origin of the clays of the other two families, represented by only one vase each, are farther away, without it being possible to be more specific. Moreover, these two vases were the only ones that were tempered with grog. These data have made it possible to establish that geometric dotted style productions present in Avignon included various practices implemented in different geographical areas; one of the two foreign vases, moreover, has a paste that also contained crushed carbonates. On the other hand, in Avignon, on the basis of the samples analysed, the practice of tempering ceramics with grog does not seem to have existed; only the presence of crushed calcite could be identified for locally manufactured geometric dotted productions.

Within the series analysed, two types of temper were therefore used. The first, the most commonly used, corresponds to the crushed calcites present in the majority of pastes of decorated Bell Beaker pottery as well as in that of the pre-oral rope vase. Grog, which is the second temper, was introduced only in the pastes of the two foreign vases. In western Provence, crushed calcite is a temper which has already been identified in the pastes of decorated Bell Beakers vases from Les Calades (Orgon, Bouches-du-Rhône) and Les Barres (Eyguières, Bouches-du-Rhône), which are stylistically similar to those of Avignon, as well as in the pastes of Rhodano-Provençal decorated production from Collet-Redon (Martigues, Bouches-du-Rhône). To the west of the Rhone, in eastern Languedoc, very few Bell Beaker ceramics of the same style as those from Avignon are known and none have been analysed. Very few petrographic analyses were carried out on beakers attributed to J. Guilaine’s early phase, which proved to be almost never tempered with crushed calcite. On the other hand, the use of crushed calcite is largely attested for the ceramics of the Rhodano-Provençal group and the associated common ceramics in eastern Languedoc.

Since the Early Neolithic, crushed calcite has been traditionally used as a temper by potters in Provence and in eastern Languedoc. A large part of the Late Neolithic productions from Provence contain it and it is omnipresent in the pottery from the other Late Neolithic sites (Fontbouisse) in the Gard and the east of the Herault département.
The Avignon series has especially brought results for local vases of the geometric dotted style that have been confronted with the data previously obtained on other corpuses from Provence and Languedoc.

The new data acquired over the past few years allow two hypotheses to be envisaged. The first is to consider that the Bell Beaker potters originally corresponded to individuals from the same substratum, possessing a unique and common (but no longer determinable) practice, or they may also correspond to geographically heterogeneous individuals, without a single practice concerning the use or otherwise of tempers. In both cases, when settling in, they would have adopted the cultural practices of the populations of the local substratum. This would involve the borrowing of clay preparation recipes from indigenous populations. The second hypothesis resumes a proposition already presented in a previous study. In order to explain the characteristics of the
geometric dotted production of phase 2 of J. Guilaine’s model, we proposed that at the end of the Neolithic, after an initial phase (phase 1) of short duration (probably some decades) during which the beakers were made locally by individuals foreign to the substratum, part of the indigenous population copied these beakers and then quickly created new shapes while diversifying the decoration.

The first proposal implies that the Bell Beaker potters who wished to establish themselves systematically adopted local cultural practices concerning the temper for the preparation of the ceramic pastes of each population of the substratum present on the territory where they settled. This hypothesis is quite plausible because several ethno-archaeological studies have shown that potters displaced into another human group can modify their know-how under the influence of the traditions of the populations in which they settle. Such borrowing may concern the temper but also shaping or decoration techniques. The nature and duration of contacts appear to be important. The reasons given for such borrowing are the ease and speed of shaping as well as consumer demand. These types of borrowing do not seem to be retained in the case of the Bell Beaker potters since the forms and the decorations are radically different from those of the indigenous productions. Nevertheless, the adoption of a locally used temper may have helped spread the beakers among indigenous populations.

The second hypothesis that we have chosen to privilege and develop is the opposite of the previous one. It is not the newcomers who borrow traditions but the natives who adopt a new ceramic form, the beaker. This hypothesis explains why the Bell Beaker productions are identical to the ceramics of the substratum, from the point of view of the use of temper, in particular crushed calcite, since they were made by the same local cultural groups. Moreover, this hypothesis also explains the systematic presence on the Bell Beaker sites of substratum ceramics other than through acquisitions made with indigenous populations. Nevertheless, a specificity can differentiate Bell Beaker productions from other locally made ceramics because, on the left bank of the Rhone, at Calades and Barres, but also in Avignon in the case of the two allochtonous ceramics, grog is found, in association with the crushed calcite still used in most productions.
This hypothesis thus makes it possible to propose a renewed reading of modalities concerning the borrowing, reinterpretation and development of Bell Beaker ceramics by some of the potters of the indigenous cultures of the Late Neolithic following the first contacts with individuals foreign to the substratum. In particular, they highlight the variability of the behaviour of potters who use this pottery with, in particular, the manufacture of stylistically similar ceramics in different places according to distinct practices, but which are largely identical with local traditions. This situation can be observed in current traditional societies where borrowing mechanisms can be rapid, in the region of a few decades. Imitations can be the result of the arrival of a new potter with his own decors, which is very close to the situation envisaged for the Bell Beaker culture. On the other hand, the time required for the appearance of new ceramic decorations and forms is difficult to access by ethno-archaeology, but archaeological examples from lakeside sites which have yielded dilated stratigraphic sequences allow an order of magnitude of a few decades for this period.