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

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)


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.

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.