Thursday, October 30, 2014

African Origin of Bell Beaker Lithics (Part 4)

Which arrowheads belong to the North African Dairy Pastoralists?

Montage of Bell Beaker and Saharan Middle/Late Dairy Pastoralists
The montage is a mixture of barb-and-tangs, but also two or three hollow bases from both the Bell Beaker horizon and the (presumed) Dairy Farmers of the Middle and Late Pastoral Saharan Steppe.
A semi-provenanced box set from a local collector may also give you an idea, although his collection is mostly from Northeastern Algeria [El-Oued Souf blog]

This fourth post wraps up a series that I began on Jan Apel's recent paper.  In the first two posts I discussed the archaeological movement of a knapping technique called "bifacial reduction through pressure flaking", which for Western Europe was re-introduced via North Africa and spread from there mostly with the Bell Beaker identity.  Other technicalities include the soft mallet core reduction in the Western sphere, but also the basic typologies, which also have very similar antecedents in North Africa.

From Jan Apel's paper (dates are B.C.)

In blog post 3, I pointed out a paper by Crema et al (2014) which should torpedo any notion that the new projectiles simply evolved from a primordial stew of European lithics.  Clearly, this is an ancient, but foreign, lithic tradition that came from the Northern Middle East via North Africa where it saturated Europe by the Bronze Age.  This episode also accompanies a very marked change in the paternal genetic history of Western Europe and I also pointed out that knapping is a "male grammer" that boys learn from their father.

One of several triangular projectiles shown in hair dressing scene of Uan Amil, Neolithic Acacus

Around 6,000 B.C., the North African coasts and river valleys were settled by farmers migrating from the Near East.  This may have been slightly preceded by cattle management in the Subpluvial phase.  The interaction between farmers and hunters probably involved "war and integration", much as it did in Northern Europe.  Sometime around 4,500 B.C., a new wave of eastern pastoralists migrated into the Central Sahara, marking the beginning of the "Middle Pastoral" or "Heavy Pastoral" in which positive evidence exists for dairying.  The very early emergence of dairying in the Saharan steppe may explain why the genetic factors for lactase persistence are of the greatest diversity here.

It's during this Middle Pastoral phase that the Euphratean "hollow base" and "barb and tang" that define Bell Beaker lithic tradition became widespread throughout the Steppe whose daily life is documented in the rich bovid art of the steppe belt.   In the Uan Amil "hair dressing" scene and you will notice at the washer's feet is an arrow with a triangular projectile.  Several panels from which this Neolithic "Smurf head" scene belongs not only show the importance of archery in the lives of Saharan pastoralists, but quite clearly show the pastoralists' triangular arrowheads.

If we were to exclude all other factors in archaeology and focus solely on lithics, North Africa offers the simplest explanation, and possibly the only explanation, for the changes that happen in Western Europe.

It was indeed these very people who were in communication with the late 4th millenium trading forts of the Tagus estuary, who brought Sahelian Elephant Ivory, ostrich eggs and all sorts of African exotica to Iberia that was craved by Neolithic Europeans.  These forts were not built for trade with Siberia or Zanzibar, but they existed to service the cartels that supplied fine things from Africa that were much in demand.  Those forts came to be slowly dominated by a mysterious new group of foreigners with a thin-walled, red slipped pottery.  I'll posit those foreigners were in fact the sellers!

"Armatures de pointes de fleches neolithieques du Nord de l'Erg Isaouae (Algerie)  J.P. Savary 1968 [Link]

"Essai sur la chronologie prehistorique de l'Afrique Occidentale Francaise.  Furon and Laforgue  1930 [Link]

"Essai sur les  armatures de pointes de flèches du Sahara" 1936 Henri-Jean Hugot

Presentation d'une serie d'armatures de pointes de fleches du neolithique Saharien.  Alain LE GUEN.

*I've excluded some of more regional and later African points.

*The Southeast coast of Spain and the east coast of France may have seen influence as early as 3200.  Keep in mind, regardless of what the earliest Iberian Beaker carbon dates are, the dates in the rest of Western Europe are not that far behind.  This can mean several things, but it is unlikely that Iberia was settled in a day so we should probably expect a grey period of influx. 

*I've focused on barb and tangs in this piece, however a fairly large amount of Beaker projectiles are hollow based.  Some archers have both in within the same grave.  I've ignored this for three reasons: being that Beaker and Corded groups seem to be intermarried over a very large contact zone, quality of flint within certain regions and finally the fact that both versions appear in the North African steppe.  I view the barb and tang as a bit more diagnostic due to its complexity and rarity.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

End of Days - 2,200 B.C. (Sachsen-Anhalt Conference)

Here's some presentations from a conference hosted by Harold Meller in Sachsen-Anhalt.  The entire conference is dedicated to the 4.2 kilo year event in which much of the world descends into chaos.

Reading through some of the papers, it's nice to see some of my intuitions about the demise of the Bell Beaker phenomenon being linked with global economic collapse.  The ultimate irony would be proof that the Bell Beaker phenomenon ended in Europe by the same impetus that gave its rise. 

On Genetics page 1 (being re-written), I mention the 4.2 kilo year as the likely major disruptive force in the thousands of miles of continental Beaker networks (such as the Amber road

Trade is the communication that gave multinational Beakers a cohesive identity.  With the world on fire and no safe way to get there, the Portuguese trading forts are abandoned and Western Europe drifts apart only to re-emerge later with new Bronze Age identities.

(All is in English)
Ein Klimasturz als Ursache für den Zerfall der Alten Welt ?  23. bis 26. Oktober 2014 Internationale Tagung in Halle (Saale)   [Link]

African Origin of Bell Beaker Lithics (Part 3)

There is a false dichotomy that exists for some lithic continuity arguments, particularly how it relates to the demography of Europe.

1)  It is argued that arrowhead typology is driven by environmental selection.

(For example, the transverse pictured below should be optimal for wetland bird and small game hunting in marshy (boggy) environments, such as the Nile, Red Sea and North Sea lowlands.  The Medieval re-invention of this Mesolithic-Neolithic point would seem to give credence to this.)

Egyptian Old Kingdom transverse "chisel" arrowheads
2)  The same may argue for the supremacy of a particular typology, "the barb and tang", which they reason would naturally replace the regional varieties of inferior transverses, kites, leaves, obliques, Eiffels, etc. This would come as a sort of "punctuated equilibrium" since after millennia it suddenly became obvious that radical change was needed to continue hunting water fowl. (joking)

Barb and Tang from Thrupp, Abington [Link]

But these statements can't be used together to justify a smooth evolution in European point typology.  In fact, it's very non-smooth in most places.  As far as the inevitable accession of the pressure-flaked, barbed projectile, it was almost completely replaced by the crude transverses in the Red Sea, Nile and Sinai in the Early Bronze Age. 

Recently discovered Neolithic Danish Tri-face
There is also the efficiency argument.  In the time it takes to make one barb and tang, the next guy can make fifty transverses or three kites.  So we have an arrowhead that is more difficult to make, easier to break, and does average jobs slightly better, like a gold-plated spoon.

These questions strike at the heart of the "cultural inheritance" models which Crema, Edinborough, Kerig and Shennan addressed on Clarivaux and Chatain lithics changes.

To me, the non-gradual change in Western European LNE lithics is a no brainer given the demographic changes happening at the time.  Again, I will summon the growing weight of paternal genetic studies on Neolithic Europe.

Crema et al (2014) essentially concluded that there were two possible inheritance models for LNE southeastern France that achieved equifinality, one being unbiased transmission and the other, anti-conformist bias.  I'll put words in their mouth and simply this down to factors attributable to uncritical knapping (mass migration) or imitation of a cultural minority (foreign elite).  I'll leave that one for you.

Speaking of the "foreignness" of the Beaker projectile, I'll wrap up with one last post on the Middle and Late Pastoral projectiles of the Saharan Dairy Farmers in Part 4.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Low Frequency L3F (Signal of Late Neolithic gene flow?)

Over the sands and far away: Interpreting an Iberian mitochondrial lineage with ancient Western African origins.  American Journal of Human Biology.  Pardinas, Martinez, Roca, Garcia, Lopez, 2014  [Link]

Extent of Cattle Pastoralist Rock Art

The authors of this study look at the depth of L3F in Austrias, Spain, which is at the opposite end of Iberia from where L3F was found in respectable numbers in Chalcolithic SE Iberia. (Fernandez et al, 2006) and (Gamba et al., 2008)

At one time this was linked to either the proverbial black gladiator or a non-existent Paleolithic wanderer.  But its age and frequency seem to tell another story.

Maternal Haplogroup L3F has been previously linked to Chadic speaking pastoral migrations (Cerny et al, 2009)   R1b-V88 also has been linked with Chadic expansion.  (Cruciani et al, 2010)

As with L3F, it appears that V88's depth in Europe does not lend itself to a wandering Medieval vagabond. [Maglio, 2014]

It's noteworthy that many of the modern Sahelian pastoral populations have the additional tandem presence of H1 + H3 along with V, which could be considered proto-Beaker (Brotherton).  This is true in Algeria as well as parts of the Southern Sahel.

The incandescent light bulb slowly flickered when thinking about "bificial thinning using surface pressure flaking" on a barbed and tanged arrowhead and its emergence in Iberia before the maturation or emergence of proper Bell Beaker.

In essence, although R1b-V88 and L3F are very low frequency in Europe and form a sort of cline from the Southwest, I think they may be like our marked honeybee for something that was much larger.

African Origin of Bell Beaker Lithics (Part 2)

Before I move on to the African Barb and Tang, a previous discussion with Andrew brought up a couple of thoughts to include before getting on with Saharan lithics.

I want to draw your attention to several key points on Jan Apel's diagram.

Dates are B.C.

First, you'll notice that the continuity of pressure flaking is owed mostly to Northeast Asia and probably comes from the Altai region (5900 B.C.) where the technique may have roots back to the Upper Paleolithic and spread from there to the Americas.  (However it is absent at Malta-Buret.)

The technique was also used in the West since Late Paleolithic but seems to have died out almost everywhere.

Although not shown, bifacial surface pressure flaking is probable in Mezraa-Teleilat (Southeast Anatolia) (Coskunsu, 2002) around the Pottery Neolithic (PN).  It's possible that the R1 paragroup, ceramic technology and pressure flaking technology came as a package from Central Asia towards the end of the PPNB in the Northern Middle East.

 Second, you'll notice that the emergence of bifacial surface pressure flaking in the North Black Sea region roughly coincides with the emergence of the North Pontic pastoral cultures and copper technology.  This concave base also spreads from the Pontic to Afansevo in the East and with the later Single Grave tradition to the West.

Arrowheads don't equal haplogroups, but sudden changes in lithic technology should alert us to possible male population movements.  I would suggest that changes in the North Pontic is a result of a male migration from the NE Middle East/Northern Zargos.

Thirdly, pressure flaking re-emerges in the Iberian peninsula at the end of the fourth millennium.  Although this is 300-400 years before the earliest Beaker dates in the Tagus Estuary, the technology leaves Iberia with the Beakers.

There's two or more possibilities what may have been going on in the late pre-Beaker 4th millenium.

One is slow process where Saharan pastolists were slowly gaining a foothold in certain regions of Iberia.  I doubt Iberia was invaded on a Tuesday night, 2783.  Immigration could have lasted centuries and proper "International Beaker" probably didn't exist yet.  It couldn't have since it acquired so many Iberian traits and that didn't happen instantly.

One early Chalcolithic example may be the very respectable frequency of L3F in Late Neolithic SE Iberia reflecting intrusion from the Southern Sahel. L3F has been linked, along with R1b-V88 with the spread of Chadic languages in Africa and is otherwise absent earlier in the European Neolithic.    If L3F women migrated to SE Iberia, they certainly came with L3F men, who might very well have R1b-V88 (and others) and who would have been pressure flakers on barbed projectiles.

Another possibility is that the culture of Almeria was more directly influenced by trade and movements from the Northern Middle East.  There does seem to be cultural communication between the two.  As for L3F, I'll link to a recent paper in another post.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Burial Myth Buster

Beaker burial busted.

It's been popularly believed that Bell Beakers in the Southern domain preferred collective formats, re-using megalithic monuments, and Bell Beakers in the Northern and Eastern domains preferred individual burials.

Christian Jeunesse says no.  Data points to a regular and widespread pattern of intrusion and individuality.

Summary : From the point of view of funerary practices, two large, broad provinces of the Beaker culture used to be distinguished : in the south (the western Mediterranean and Iberian Peninsula) and in the west (the Atlantic region) areas of the Beaker culture, the dead would be preferentially buried in reused pre-Beaker megaliths, while the domain of the individual grave falls in the eastern region. A closer examination shows that this division does not relect the prehistoric reality. Far from being specfic to the Atlantic-Mediterranean region, the reutilisation of earlier monumental tombs (megalithic chambers or tumulus) is commonly practiced throughout the Beaker area. This practice is simply more visible in the zone with the most monumental graves which corresponds to the southern and western areas of the second megalithism. A careful review of the available literature also shows that the southern and western zone produced, alongside reused megaliths, numerous lat individual graves, which in certain cases had been covered by a tumulus. This mixture of practices is attested in all the regions of the Beaker culture where monumental tombs existed. In the south and west, the predominance of reuse is only manifested by the great visibility of monumental graves. The traditional opposition between a large province where reuse was practised and a province where individual graves were used, therefore has to be abandoned. Before the beginning of the Beaker period, reuse had already been widely practiced in the Corded ware and Yamnaja cultures, posing the question of an eventual eastern origin for this usage.  In the Corded ware and Beaker culture, reused structures are not systematically monumental tombs, in a number of cases flat graves were reused. The reused funerary contexts were either old tombs, pre-Beaker or pre-Corded ware, or the first users of the tombs had the same material culture as the second users. In the first case, the chronological scope between the two users is very variable. The reuse can involve  monuments abandoned for many centuries as well as ‘living’ structures. The idea frequently advanced that Beaker period reuse hides the reality, particularly for the Iberian Peninsula, of a continuity both demographic and ideologically from the culture substrate, is equally open to discussion. Actually, the available data strongly support a hypothesis which, in contrast, places a greater emphasis on notions of intrusion or rupture. The corresponding scenario is illustrated by the cases of partial destruction and the emptying of older monuments. The fact that monuments are frequently abandoned for centuries before they are reused also supports this argument. Finally, it is important to underline that Beaker communities in general only placed a single burial in pre-Beaker funerary chambers. There is thus not a continuity with the previous practice of collective burial, but rather the placing of an individual burial within a collective tomb. The treatment of the dead therefore obeys the same rule across the whole of the Beaker field. In the south and in the west, this practice is clearly a rupture with indigenous use. Generally, this is merely a reproduction of the funerary system used in the Corded ware culture.

Pratiques funéraires campaniformes en Europe
Faut-il remettre en cause la dichotomie Nord-Sud ?  La question de la réutilisation des sépultures monumentales dans l’Europe du 3e millénaire, "Données récentes sur les pratiques funéraires néolithiques de la Plaine du Rhin supérieur"  Christian JEUNESSE, 2014 [Link]

Friday, October 17, 2014

African Origin of Bell Beaker Lithics (Part 1)

If you have read this blog for a while, you know that I feel very comfortable with the probability that the pre-Bell Beaker phenomenon has its origin in Neolithic Subpluvial of the African Steppe.

Today, I'm going to cover Apel's work on the transmission of "bifacial thinning using pressure flaking" and then in a later post talk about the "Barbed and Tanged" arrowheads of the Heavy Pastoralist Wet Sahara.    I'll explain why the Bell Beaker arrowhead comes from here, not other places.

Jan Apel has a paper on pressure flaking I found a while back.  Although Apel is singularly focused on bifacial surface pressure flaking in this study, there are additional details to the Beaker projectiles that makes them very African.  But overall, as you can see and will read, the projectiles in the Western sphere correspond with the spread of the Bell Beaker phenomenon from Iberia and in the East it corresponds with the formation of the Single Grave Culture.*

Although the Corded and Beaker populations have similar learned male grammers, it is apparently a deep one and one that originates in the Northern Middle East and Eastern Anatolia.  (I will call it Euphratean)  The most important concept about male grammers is that they are transmitted from father to son.  (Think Y-chromosomal DNA, now consider the fifty DNA studies on Neolithic Europe)

I will cover typology and selection in another post.  I am also working on the genetics stuff, rewriting genetics page 1 and other things. 

Tracing pressure-flaked arrowheads in Europe.  Becoming European:  The transformation of the third millennium Northern and Western Europe.  Jan Appel, 2012  [Link]

* there are some pioneering exceptions to this, both in Iberia and Central Europe.  

Nicolas and Guéret on Amorican Arrowheads

These are among the finest stone arrowheads ever made in Europe.

Beginning with the incipient Beaker barb-and-tang in Brittany (with a floor of around 2150 B.C.), the Amoricans develop into incredibly fine, wafer-thin arrowheads.  The translucent flints give an added beauty to these high-quality arrowheads which, like the Danish flint daggers, were probably professionally made with a metal tool set.

Figure 6. Arrowheads stemming from one of the wooden boxes found in the Kernonen barrow at Plouvorn, Finistère (photo C. Nicolas).
There is an unusual story to how these arrowheads were deposited into single graves, usually by the tens up to sixty something.  It appears they were removed from the arrowstock and placed into a charms box which accompanied the dead.  This was not only limited to arrowheads but to daggers also, which sometimes occur to the tune of around ten in a single burial.

Figure 1. Distribution map of the Early Bronze Age graves including Armorican arrowheads in Brittany (mapping C. Nicolas). [additional detail in original document]

Nicolas and Guéret seem to discount the notion that they were only funerary objects as hafting glue and other indicators make it clear they were hafted on arrowshafts.  There's a few other oddities, such as paint traces or polishing agent on a few arrowheads.

It seems that these items could  have been mementos placed in the graves of some men, the same way immediate family members put roses on a casket or certain items in the grave.

Armorican Arrowheads Biographies: Production and Function of an Early Bronze Age prestige good from Brittany (France).  Journal of Lithic Studies.  Clément Nicolas, Colas Guéret, 2014.  [Link]


Brittany can pride itself on the Armorican arrowheads found in Early Bronze Age graves (2150-1700 BC). In the present state of knowledge, these are the only specialized craft products in knapped flint produced in this region at the western edge of continental Europe. Admired since the 19th century, these flint arrowheads have never really been studied. Due to the wealth of graves and grave-goods, a relatively precise study can be undertaken of the development of these craft products, despite the low number of reliable radiocarbon dates.
These arrowheads are characterized by a well-defined type (pointed tang and oblique barbs) most often combined with ogival form. Raw materials show the selection of a high quality yellow translucent flint, of which the origin has to be sought at more than 400 kilometers (Lower Turonian flint from Cher Valley). From a technical point of view, Armorican arrowheads reveal a great mastery of retouch by pressure-flaking. This skill is written in stone by the perfection of forms, the extreme thinness (until 2,5 mm thick) and very long barbs (until 25 mm long). Such work could not have been done without the use of copper, even bronze, awls. Moreover, some marks may testify to the implication of these tools. On 549 arrowheads that have reached to us, none of them presents diagnostical impact features. However, use-wear analysis indicates that most of them were hafted (adhesive traces, bright spots, blunt edges). These facts suggest that they are less functional arrowheads than objects for the show. In the graves, Armorican arrowheads are frequently set down carefully in wooden boxes taking the shaft off.
The Armorican arrowheads with their exotic raw materials, their high-degree of technicality, and their absence of use, have all features of a prestige good. They have been discovered by dozens in few graves under barrows with very rich funeral items (bronze daggers decorated with golden pins, precious bracers, silver beakers, etc.). According to these obvious facts, they symbolize the power of the elites. The genesis of Armorican arrowheads are in all likelihood explained by a climate of increasing social competition, which express itself in Brittany by an individualization of burial rites, a development of metalworking and a reorganization of territories.
In this article, we will stress on raw materials selection, technology and know-how, as well as use-wear analyses. All these approaches will help us to trace the biographies of the Armorican arrowheads.

Making a type IV-d Danish Dagger with Ed Mosher

Ed Mosher has some pretty cool Youtube videos on making Danish daggers.

One misguided belief about these flint daggers is to view them as substitutes for copper daggers, as if the people with fahlore copper axes and gold jewelry couldn't afford a copper dagger.  These high quality, professionally made flint daggers had a special meaning to those that owned or inherited them.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Government Seat of El Argar Discovered

The discovery of gold, silver, jewels and fine wares were announced from Spain last week.  The size of the royal complex testifies to the power and wealth of the Argaric Bronze Age of Southeast Iberia with connections in the Aegean, possibly Mycenaean or the late Vučedol Culture of the Northern Balkans.

The great hall or court of the palace had a podium at the fore and semi-circular seating for nobles.  One of its apparent queens from this year's dig wore a silver crown in burial.  (A number of Argaric queens(?) have been found with these tiara's alongside well-armed and richly adorned males)

What makes this discovery so special is that La Alomoya is now the oldest government building in the continent.  Re-read that five times.

Husband and Wife
Several interesting footnotes:

Argaric Culture marks an end to Bell Beaker and Megalithic cultural influence within its region.  With its growth, the Atlantic becomes increasingly isolated and dependent on Central Europe for international trade.
It is only with the end of Argar that strong pan-Atlantic trade and cultural expression is renewed with the Atlantic Bronze Age (c1300).

The rise and fall of Almeria's influence in Iberia is inversely proportional to the rise and fall of Bell Beaker.

A King and Queen of Almeria?
Read more about the Discovery at LiveScience
Read "El Argar and the Beginning of Class Society in the Western Mediterranean"
Maju on finds from "La Bastida"
Pithos from La Bastida several years ago [Ayuntamiento de Totana]

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

"Greek Model" of Implantation (Lemercier & co.)

A big work on the history of Mediterranean France includes a short chapter from France's leading Beakerists on the implantation of a foreign Beaker culture within this area.

Mediterranean France - Beginning (Lemercier et al)

Here they outline what they describe as the "Greek Model" for the colonization of Western Europe by Bell Beaker "folk".  Although it is not a one-to-one comparison, many elements of Greek colonization could be compared to what is visible in the Bell Beaker record.

They note that the Greeks made initial contact that included amicable trade and establishment of trading forts along coastal areas.  This was followed by expansion, intermarriage, settlement and consolidation.  Finally, this was followed by the establishment of an aristocratic caste and full cultural saturation and conformism.

Mediterranean France - End (Lemercier et al)

I'm paraphrasing a bit, but it's all in French anyway.  (As always, you can use google translate)

Although it is called the "Greek Model" here, I believe this was previously proposed by Lermercier as the contact, settlement, diffusion and acculturation mode of evolution.   I'll add these to the maps page.

2 500 avant notre ère : l’implantation campaniforme en france méditerranéenne.
Actes des XXXIV rencontres internationales d'archeologie et d'histore d'antibes
Lemercier, Blaise, Cattin, Convertini, Desideri, Furestier, Gadbois-Langevin, LaBaune, 2014 [Link]

Friday, October 3, 2014

Origin of R1b V88?

Genetic-Genealogist, Mike Maglio, proposes an Iberian origin for R1b-V88.

While Maglio's modified phylo-geography is intriguing, I disagree with his conclusion for roots in a LGM Iberian refuge. 

V88+ Expansion from Lake Chad (Maglio, 2014)

But before I get to the points of interest, I have to say I'm surprised to see this Iberian refuge hypothesis continually sit up in the coffin.

It's noteworthy that the red dot in Fig. 7 is at the edge of Valdelugueros (La Brana), the site of two recent, controlled, stratified, Mesolithic hunter-gatherers.  They are the totality of their genealogies and their parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters and extended families would have heritable traits and haplotypes similar to them, not like peoples who live in this region now.

(I will comment on these early Iberian archeaogenetic studies in depth on Beaker genetics page 2 which will raise your abundant Late Neolithic eyebrows)


Maglio has re-arranged some of the phylo-geography in a novel way.  Most interesting is the shifting center of gravity for V88+ away from the Near East where it has usually been placed to the edge of Earth.  V88+ may be young enough that putting a hard and fast origin in the Middle East is a bit forced, especially when its immediate diversity doesn't clearly show this.

So, without getting into the details, I want to use Maglio's "Iberia-Chad" hypothesis and tweak it with an alternate interpretation using the last Saharan pump.

I think what Maglio is looking at is the genetic fray of the African Late Neolithic Subpluvial from which (I think) Beakers and African pastoralists descend.

I'll predict that with more subtropic canvassing we will begin to see a "grass fire pattern" around the Sahara (ie. Iberia, Sub-Sahara, Blue Nile, Levant) with strong founder effects towards super-lineages, but the continued presence of very low frequency, bottle-necked and ancestral lineages in the fray. (479*, 173*, P25*, L-278 (V88-), V88+, L51-, L51*)  

As Maglio states in the L-278 paper, we should not be distracted by the super-clades of Europe (and Africa).  The reason for their accession is probably statistical and societal (on multiple levels). 

This "grass fire effect" is somewhat visible now with the Sub-Sahara "under girded" by R1b in Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and deeper into the Congo.  Although these are significantly V88+, it is critical to note that all these lineages are badly under-represented by independents and formal studies.

The problem with understanding the phylogeny of R1b in Africa is that vast regions previously inhabited by pastoralists are now completely uninhabited.  This is true in the Western Sahara, where the human population is essentially zero, which is why R1b constitutes 0% of male haplogroups.

Where there is R1b, its usually crowded in inbred oasies where M269 may make 1% with a much larger share to V88.

Only heavy canvassing and deep clade testing will reveal the structure of P297 and L-278 in the continent.

I will have have to study his process better, but reading various forums, it seems the age and spread of these lines is being challenged with deep SNP testing.

Y Chromosome Haplogroup R1b-V88: Biogeographical Evidence for an Iberian Origin Michael R. Maglio, 2014 [Link]
The status on the origins of haplogroup R1b remains split between the Iberian Peninsula prior to the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and a West Asian origin coinciding with the Neolithic expansion. The majority of focus on subgroup R1b-V88 has concentrated on African populations and neglected European and West Asian populations. To get a complete understanding of the back to Africa migration, a holistic network approach is necessary. Biogeographical Multilateration (BGM) illustrates directional flow as well as chronological and physical origins at the haplogroup level. The resulting phylogenetic relationships for R1b-V88 support an Iberian origin, a Mediterranean expansion and a Europe to Africa back migration.

Biogeographical Evidence for the Iberian Origins of R1b-L278
via Haplotype Aggregation
Michael R. Maglio, 2014 [Link]

The status on the roots of haplogroup R1b remains split between an Iberian origin prior
to the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and a West Asian origin coinciding with the Neolithic expansion. Existing methods generalize geographic patterns based on large population genetic frequency and diversity. Haplotype Aggregation delivers a coherent genetic record selection and Biogeographical Multilateration (BGM) illustrates directional flow as well as chronological and physical origins at the haplogroup level. The resulting phylogenetic relationships across multiple high level branches of R1b support an Iberian origin and a rapid Western Atlantic migration.