Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Beginning of Something?

Courtesy of Eurogenes:

Would you call this broadcasting?  Wolfgang Haak speaks first, John Koch speaks last.  You will recognize most of these names.

I suppose the speaker list gives either an indication of the direction the genetic evidence is leading or perhaps the kickoff of another large multi-university genetic study.  It would appear to be a precursor to a genetic program of the British Neolithic & Early Bronze Age.


  1. I'll bite. Looks like the presenters are leaning towards an Indo-European Beaker people (and presumably inferring that R1b-M269 is Indo-European in origin), a conclusion that I strongly doubt, but would be willing to revise in lieu of better evidence. The basic problem with equating R1b-M269 with Indo-European origins is that the Basque are intensely R1b.

    The prospects of more ancient DNA to address the problem, which seems like it might be in the offing, however, is exciting no matter what is shows.

    1. Brave soul, brave soul. I also doubt R1b lineages or Beakers were fully IE initially, but it also wouldn't surprise that Beakers who invaded the Isles were mostly IE speaking having prevailed in most of the old CW network in the continent.

      I will be looking for several results in the Isles: I expect the earliest Neolithic to be genetic trybrids of Native Mesoithic folks (especially in Irie), Danubians and Maritime Impresso's, possibly strongly so. A strong Fenno-Scandia-Karelia presence in the MN, a MN Iberian-like presence in the LN Grooved Ware and absolute hal-fire in the Beaker period.

      It would not surprise me me if Grooved folk were largely R1b. Depending on how Iberia was settled in the Early Neolithic, it's possible Impresso R1b folk were festering in the facade, although I doubt this for a number of reasons.

      On the otherhand, if Groove folk materialize as your basic your standard farmer, it means that Beakers burned everything to the ground. Obviously not completely as the old school thrives culturally.

      Because the Atlantic is a black hole, and because North Africa is a black hole, anything goes at this point IMO.

      Racially, Beakers are new to the Isles and I'd expect a demarcation point in the vicinity of 2600ish

    2. "Beakers who invaded the Isles"

      Where's the evidence for an "invasion"? I know of none. In fact the pre-Beaker and post-Beaker Britain is pretty much the same culture, just as in the rest of Europe (West of the Rhine).

    3. Nothing is proven until it's proven, but this view goes back to the earliest analyses of the skeletal differences that are seen in this time frame. The Beakers and Bodies project looked at 285 individuals in Britain and found high mobility, but it's impossible to identify 1st generation migrants in most cases (although the Amesbury Archer is one example)

      It's probably fair to say that the Beakers of NE Scotland came primarily from the Rhine and even bury in the CWC format. Food Vessel tradition seems to have invaded Western Britain from Ireland. There seems to be Beaker communities with roots in Amorica, Portugal, Central Europe.

      I imagine the Universities present are some of the curators of those individuals. But yes, there is some continuity going forward. Eventually everything consolidates, but maybe we'll know for sure here shortly.



    4. Couldn't the R1b in the Basque population be due to gene flow from other Iberian populations?

    5. @BBB: What percentage of the remains of that period do the "highly mobile" Beaker individuals constitute, where do you see the cultural transformation of the general society (not just the Beaker "sect" or "guild"), where do you find even that the Beaker sect members were the elite of the society and not just a minority?

      Unlike you, what I see is the same old British Megalithic society with some Beaker "traders" or whatever they were scattered here and there. Otherwise it's like trying to interpret Medieval Europe based only on Jewish tombs and candelabra. The part is not the whole. You can't read "invasion" and change where we see continuity with an overlay of rather anecdotal Beaker findings, you can't judge the whole elephant based only on the shape of its tail.

    6. @Average: No. It does not make any sense: it'd need to be massive influx and it'd need to have brought sublineages that are very much Basque-specific (i.e. implying an ancient local founder effect). Basques would not be distinctive if that would be the case, among many other logical reasons, such as the fact that Iberians (or French or Brits) have lower frequencies of R1b than Basques, not higher.

    7. @Joe "Couldn't the R1b in the Basque population be due to gene flow from other Iberian populations?"

      Nothing about the Basque can be simple. The greatest concentration of peninsular corded Ware is in the Western Pyrenees, being the punishment of our sins)
      El Portalon ATP2 is M269+ without steppe admixture in 3500. El Torcs is R1b way before that. Possibly two Baalberbergers in-between.
      As I've commented before on slate plaques and ivory trade, Eastern and Southern Iberia was re-settled by a minority of Syrians (IMO) leading to the Late Neolithic and I think the Green Sahara was similarly dumping in Northern Portugal before the N.A. steppe started imploding in the mid 4th millennium.

      The Eastward facing, sexed, white-encrusted-burial-pottery folk of the Globular Amphora folk enter Europe about the same time as ATP2.

      So who knows where the heck this comes from. As I mentioned on Eurogenes when the Haak paper first came out, BB and CW intermingled heavily, some populations may be nothing more than Beakerized CW folk. Lithics, burial, pottery seem to indicate this in some places like Scotland or the Rhine.

      So to answer your question, the difference between a Basque and a Welshman is that the latter has more CW/North Euro ancestry. It's possible Western R1b had little to do with the steppe initially, but there are good arguments to the contrary as well.

    8. @Maju. "Otherwise it's like trying to interpret Medieval Europe based only on Jewish tombs and candelabra."

      That's a good point and despite the ubiquitous nature of BB, still considered by most writers to be to be a minority everywhere.

    9. Maju's thinking that "the pre-Beaker and post-Beaker Britain is pretty much the same culture" could hardly be more mistaken. The key thing about pre-Beaker Britain after c. 3000 BC is the lack of contact with continental Europe, e.g. very different pottery types, lack of imports (e.g. copper and amber), completely different monuments (e.g. henges and cursuses), very little sign of formal burial practices (e.g. only perhaps a dozen round barrows from this period).

      Calling this pre-Beaker period (the Later Neolithic) megalithic Britain is utterly misleading, as there is very little megalithic construction and very little use of megalithic tombs at this time.

      All this changes with the Beaker period - although that in itself does not require large-scale population movements.

    10. "Contact"? Sure, what you say, Nick, is (roughly) right but it is not "key" because it does not talk of mass migrations nor of radical cultural changes, just minor stuff. You seem to be willing to hype what is a side issue, I focus on the major stuff instead.

    11. "Just minor stuff" - I know you aren't an archaeologist, but even so that is a strange misconception. Even a passing familiarity with the evidence and the literature would show that the essence of the Beaker debate within Britain is the radical change in the degree of contact with the continent.

      The appearance of Beakers and copper, the reuse of Earlier Neolithic monuments, the general cessation of building henges and cursuses, the general adoption of single burial with pottery under round barrows does represent a radical change.

      No-one familiar with the archaeology of Neolithic-Bronze Age Britain thinks in terms of a "British Megalithic society" in which "pre-Beaker and post-Beaker Britain is pretty much the same culture".

    12. P.S. It has also become apparent that the most common method of body treatment in early third millennium BC Britain was cremation, which represents a significant change from Earlier Neolithic burial practices (including in megalithic tombs), so the reversion to inhumation burial in the Beaker period (Copper Age) is a fairly radical one.

    13. There are changes overlapping BB? Yes. Are these some sort of "BB culture"? Nope. Only in the Eastern Province BB shows patterns that are distinct from non BB groups, and only there BB influence can be considered dominant. Elsewhere BB is related to stuff that happens but that is not BB: cremation is not BB (nor Kurgan nor either a simple continuity of previous local practices), reuse of dolmen burials indicates continuity with the previous culture (just as in the South, but in contrast to Scandinavia or Central Europe, where dolmens are abandoned "overnight" with Corded Ware).

      "... the general adoption of single burial with pottery under round barrows does represent a radical change".

      It could be... IF that is an extended practice and can be associated with a general cultural change. We see similar changes (decline in megalithism, gradual increase of individual burials) in France and other areas anyhow but my impression is that they represent a sociological trend where, gradually, old customs are lost, maybe because of weakening of clannic or tribal loyalties and an increase of "individualism", not a sudden or abrupt change, rather a gradual change in fashions that anyhow cannot be tracked to any external origin.

      So I'd agree that there is more cosmopolitanism, more individualism, and a gradual loss of Megalithic traditions that happens not just in Britain but in fact everywhere west of the Rhine, albeit at locally different rhythms.

    14. Anyhow it's clearly a matter meriting a deep analysis and I'd be glad if our host, BBB, would some day discuss this issue in depth.

    15. This comment has been removed by the author.

    16. Thanks for the reply - we perhaps aren't as far apart in our thinking as I thought at first. On the Beaker reuse of megalithic and non-megalithic monumental burial sites in Britain though I do want the stress that this is not evidence of continuity. There are several Early Neolithic long barrows (either with timber or stone chanbers) where the last burials in their original phase of use occur c. 3600 BC; there are then no burials there at all for over 1000 years until the Beaker period, when inhumation burials occur in graves cut into the mounds. That is perhaps one of the most interesting features of Beaker burial practice, as it could be interpreted as a false claim to continuity.
      Sorry if having removed the earlier comment causes any confusion - I accidentally posted it before completing it.

    17. Well, that's interesting if it can be confirmed to be a generic pattern. However I'd like a good general assessment of the cultural continuity issue, preferably a scholarly one. AFAIK, Megalithic building in Britain never stopped (see: http://leherensuge.blogspot.com/2009/12/demographics-of-british-neolithic-2.html) and, if anything, it had a peculiar peak (not justified by other indicators of demographic density) precisely in the Bell Beaker period. But this is a very rough assessment (which I never found questioned before, even if I share apartment with an English prehistory blogger and have extensively discussed British Megalithism with locals in specialized forums), so if there are good materials that support your view, I'd like to read them in order to expand my understanding, of course.

  2. I also did have some doubts about R1b-L51 to be linked with IE. But now after examining all the data available from Isles I came to the conclusion that it is extremly unlikely that people who appeared in Isles at 2500 BC not to be IE. I wouldn't call them Proto-celts but certainly they were PIE like speakers.

    I wrote about it in Anthrogenica.

    My impression is that in Iberia and North Italy Neolithic cultures resisted quite long to indo -europeinasation because they had a dense population. Also they were protected by mountains. Pyrenean and Alpes.
    During this process of resistence they achieved to acculturate some new-comer 'barbarians'.
    I expect Etruscans also to be high in R1b-L11.

    1. Very reasonable conclusion giving the current facts. Thanks for the link.

    2. My take would be that Western Europe and Eastern Europe received demic contributions from people from the Steppe with high levels of ANE and Y-DNA R1, but that Eastern Europe received demic contributions from Indo-European language speakers from the Northern part of the Steppe, and that Western Europe received demic contributions from non-Indo-European language speakers with a parallel and technologically comparable culture in the Southern part of the Steppe or West Asia.

      I'd analogize it to the non-IE Etruscans and the Italic people who followed a couple of centuries after them in Italy. The Etruscans were one of the longest surviving non-IE people in Europe because they had adopted a lot of technologies and cultural practices from the IE people who were on their heels following them into Italy (and probably driving them out of wherever the Etruscans had formed their culture before them), giving them staying power via-a-vis IE populations, but retained their non-IE language and other parts of their culture.

      I think that the people who brought ANE and R1b to Western Europe were probably non-IE pilot wave or parallel culture members in analogy to the Etruscans, while the people who brought ANE and R1a to Eastern Europe and South Asia were IE people.

    3. I thought the Etruscans came from Anatolia?

    4. @Average: historical (and proto-historical) Etruscans lived in Italy.

      Their elites are suspected to have arrived from Anatolia or the Aegean in the Bronze Age Collapse period, this is supported by some genetic data, the historical presence of another Tyrsenian language in Lemnos (near ancient Troy) and some ancient accounts of dubious credibility, as well as some artistic and cultural elements that can be interpreted as pre-Greek Aegean-like. However there was another genetic study that supported a Western origin and they initially adopted the Western Indoeuropean cremation custom followed by burial in urns (Urnfield culture, even if it was just an influence).

    5. The non-IE linguistically Rhaetic people of the Alps (no relation to the modern speakers of the Romance language of the Alps of the same name) were part of the same language family as the Etruscans and the Etruscan civilization arrived in Italy from somewhere about 200 years before the Indo-Europeans Italic speakers did. Some historical accounts suggest that the Etruscans were derived from the Rhaetic people who in turn sought a mountain refuge after being ousted by the Gauls (a Celtic tribe).

      There is no definitive answer to where the Etruscans came from, however, and the evidence of the other Tyrsenian languages is quite fragmentary.

    6. Actually the Etruscan affiliation of Rhaetian is just speculative (mostly based on a passage by Pliny). Others say it could be Indoeuropean or just some other pre-IE language. The only thing clearly Etruscan that Rhaetians had was the alphabet... but we do too.

      I'm checking the extant inscriptions at: http://adolfozavaroni.tripod.com/retiche.htm

      I can see stuff that sounds Romance-like: "laspathianu esi unne" (laspathianu is one / the pathianu are one). "Esi" appears once and again and to me it sounds like "are" or some other form of "to be", quite in accordance with Romance: Latin and some Italian dialects: esse = to be, Spanish es = he/she is, French est = is.

      ... but other that might be potentially Vasconic (the usual blind spot): "ethsuale uthiku kaian. / nakin athari sakvil" (tentatively: "Ethsuale will leave at the dock / with me to the father sakwil").

      I'm no expert on Etruscan, whose knowledge is anyhow fragmentary, but I do recognize the presence of some words like "Tinia" (~Jupiter) and a general Etruscan sound feeling probably caused by the alphabet (we know how they wrote but not how they pronounced).

      "There is no definitive answer to where the Etruscans came from"...

      Maybe but Rhaetic (unlike Lemnian) is not going to give us any strong clue either.

    7. Etruscan genetics, IIRC, don't really support a recent Aegean of West Anatolian origin for the Iron Age Etruscans. This is one of the reasons that I tend to favor Pliny's account. Your insights on potential Rhaetic linguistic affiliations is interesting.

    8. Etruscan genetics, IIRC, don't really support a recent Aegean of West Anatolian origin for the Iron Age Etruscans. This is one of the reasons that I tend to favor Pliny's account. Your insights on potential Rhaetic linguistic affiliations is interesting.

    9. "Etruscan genetics, IIRC, don't really support a recent Aegean of West Anatolian origin for the Iron Age Etruscans".

      How can you say that? There's been at least one study on precisely Iron Age Etruscan mtDNA that made them appear very close to Anatolian peoples (what strongly reinforces the Trojan or "Lydian" hypothesis). Also in nearly all studies modern Tuscans appear to be significantly more Eastern-leaning than other Italians.

  3. I think R1b were connected to early mining leading to them becoming a widespread minority all over except in a few regions where cattle herding was more favored and crop-farming less favored for climate reasons.

    (like the Atlantic coast or that stretch under the Sahara)

    1. LOL, you can't explain R1b from a "widespread miner minority".

      Not just the "minority" issue is a problem but also mining and quarrying have been practiced for millennia with growing centralized but still regional focuses.

      Also what we know historically about Metal Ages' miners is that they used to be slaves (with very harsh lives and short life expectancy) or at the very least rather to the bottom of the socio-economic hierarchy, so I don't know how they could become so "widespread", more so when it is farming and not mining the basis of any pre-industrial economy, employing the vast majority of the people.

      Finally I have to insist that the first brachycephalic types in the Basque Country, for example, are precisely miners (or so have some prestigious archaeologists claimed), a fraction of them anyhow, yet modernly Basques remain being a mesocephalic ("dolico-" for European standards) population, so these newcomers didn't leave any obvious legacy in cranial shapes and therefore probably not either in the genetic pool.

      IMO R1b is associated to: (a) modern-like high mtDNA H pools (ancient samples from Basque Country and France, later also Bell Beaker people of Germany) and (b) modern-like high lactose tolerance genetics (again first detected in Chalcolithic Basques and SW Swedes, sharing the Megalithic or Atlantic Neolithic macro-culture). Neither first farmers nor IE intruders had any of those traits, so they must be discarded.

    2. "didn't leave any obvious legacy in cranial shapes...Neither first farmers nor IE intruders had any of those traits, so they must be discarded."

      male only or mostly male, local women

  4. @Maju

    "Neither first farmers nor IE intruders had any of those traits, so they must be discarded."

    I'd generally agree.

    I suspect that the high lactose tolerance genetics arise in the first instance (or at least expand significantly for the first time) in NW Europe, with Iberian Basques receiving these traits via population flow from France.

    But, I'd add that I don't see any convincing evidence that there was much R1b anywhere in Western Europe before the First Farmers arrived and I don't see any evidence that any R1b that was there was the main source of the R1b that is predominant in Western Europe today. So, the R1b surge must have happened sometime after the first farmers, and sometime before the very late Bronze Age/Iron Age arrival of IE people to Western Europe (Urnfield and thereafter by my reckoning). Given the fact that Western Europe was on the tale end of the Neolithic, with its first farmers arriving later there than in the Danubian basin, for example, this is a pretty narrow window of opportunity (2500 years or so, plus or minus a few centuries), and there are only so many archaeological cultures that had an impact on all or most of the regions where Western European R1b is found today that could have done that.

    I'm not terribly wedded to the idea that this happened via a folk migration that replaced Mesolithic and first Neolithic peoples in Western Europe, but I'm not awash with alternative theories either.

    I suspect that the population of low prestige miners may overlap only marginally with high prestige mine managers, mine owners, metal workers and/or metal merchants (all of whom are connected to mining and mineral resources despite not being miners themselves), in much the same way that there is an immense ethnic divide in the U.S. today (for better or worse) between people who manage farms, construction projects and hotels, and the lion's share of rank and file production workers in those industries. One would presume that the latter and not the former group would be the one that saw demographic expansion.

    Also separate and part from who actually did the work, the availability of the products of the mining and metal working work, clearly gave metal using cultures a decisive edge over non-metal bearing cultures, in military terms, in economic terms for a wide variety of activities, and in terms of perceived desirability of emulating the cultures that had it by people who belonged to cultures that did not have it.


    I'm not convinced that food production methods had much to do with the spread of the Copper and Bronze Age technologies in Western Europe. The critical issue for the development of local metal age technologies in Europe was the availability of metal deposit resources, which in the ancient world seemed to be greatest in Southern Portugal; Cornwall, England; somewhere in the vicinity of Czechoslovakia; the Caucasus, and parts of Anatolia, as far as I know. The latter two were most convenient for Western Europe.

    1. We don't have any evidence yet for R1b (Western clades) before the German Bell Beakers but I just think this is because of the scarcity of the samples, especially their total absence in the Atlantic area, where the origin should be.

      Anyway, I just became aware of the 4.2 Kiloyear event, which was a global mini ice age that caused widespread famine and troubles (collapse of Akkadian Empire and of the Old Kingdom in Egypt, for example), much more severe than the "little ice age" of the 18th century. I wonder if the expansion of the LCT allele, and relatedly of the R1b lineage, may have been aided by it (my "milk and acorn bread" pet theory, based on the historical fact that most milk used to be produced by goats, which are very hardy and affordable animals). This date is in any case coincident with apogee of the Bell Beaker phenomenon, as well as that of a plausible source: the Zambujal (VNSP) civilization of Portugal.

    2. @Andrew

      "I'm not convinced that food production methods had much to do with the spread of the Copper and Bronze Age technologies in Western Europe."

      Nor me. I think it would have to be a fluke, some region where somehow mining and cattle became connected e.g. around the Kargaly copper field, the miners spread from metal deposit to metal deposit as you say ending up as a minority everywhere except those regions where cattle raising had a major advantage over crop raising at the time in question e.g. in the acidic soils along the Atlantic coast.

    3. I absolutely agree that the 4.2 ky event played a central role in the collapse of first wave Neolithic origin societies in favor of new Bronze Age cultures that filled the vacuum and conquered societies that were ill adapted to the new conditions, and that this very likely played a role in the LCT allele and the R1b lineage. The fact that this is coincident with the apogee of the Bell Beaker phenomenon is one of the reasons that I think they were instrumental in facilitating both somehow or other.

  5. Thing is there are a limited number of broad logical possibilities for R1b in western Europe

    1. there *before* the farmers and we simply haven't found the evidence yet
    - which requires an explanation of how they eventually out reproduced the farmers

    2. arrived as a minority *during* the neolithic and somehow became the majority
    - which requires a reason they arrived
    - which requires a reason how they eventually out reproduced the farmers

    3. arrived as an invading tribe
    - no mysteries there

    So *if* the timing is off for option (3) and as we haven't found evidence for option (1) *yet* (and even then it still needs a reason why they out-reproduced the farmers) then we are left with option (2): they arrived as a minority during the farmer era but somehow managed to out-reproduce them

    which leaves:

    where did they come from originally? (lots of arguments there)

    why did they come? (mining/metalwork is just one possibility)

    how did they out-reproduce the farmers? (milk seems like the obvious answer to this whether goat or cattle and possibly driven by a climate event / famine)

    but either way before, during or after are the only three broad logical categories.

    1. 1 or 2. Number 3 has all kind of issues: genetic issues in the structure of R1b-L11, (which must have expanded from around France, not Russia or whatever), ethno-linguistic issues (why do high-R1b populations speak two different language families and one, Indoeuropean, is associated to other people with very low R1b-L11?) and archaeological issues (where is the material evidence for that alleged invasion?, which archaeological culture or cultures are we talking about?)

      1 & 2 are much simpler. You ask mainly for "how they eventually out reproduced the farmers" and I don't have a definitive simple answer but we do see Michelsberg culture (megalithic and funnelbeaker) expanding at the expense of Epi-Rössen (early farmers) in much of Germany and nearby areas, and we have the issue of Atlantic LCT, which may be a complementary aid, especially in times of famine (goat milk for the win!), which shows clear evidence of being present in the Atlantic Megalithic arch: SW Sweden , some early Basques but not others in dichotomic fashion, probably early British farmers, judging on how much milk they ingested).

      Basically what I perceive in the scant data is that Atlantic Europe was already pretty much like today (maybe not quite but close enough) in Megalithic times and Megalithic times already include a partial replacement of early farmers in most of the the LBK area (Michelsberg), while other areas were already more "modern-like" before.

      The most intriguing case may be Iberia, which appears to show an increase of R1b (and mtDNA H) that is not tightly associated to Megalithism, which was absent in much of the peninsula (center and east). From this I gather that there is not a simple explanation for all regions: some were "modern" first (Atlantic), some later West Germany, and some still can't be fully explained for lack of sufficient data and excess of nuances.

      But in any case the key must be in the West unless you discover that Basque and Iberian are Indoeuropean languages (you won't) or any other archaeological signature of mass invasions before the thin Celtic layer, which can be better linked to lineages like R1a or some I subclades. What we see in the Basque Country (unavoidable reference) is much more continuity than in Central Europe since roughly Neolithic and too extremely high frequencies (and even diversity) of R1b to even consider invasive origins, let alone the stupid "theory" of slow drip from neighbors who are clearly much lower in R1b frequencies (and hence should have brought other lineages with them, not just that one).

    2. I must add this:

      Focusing on R1b-S116, I find that not just the origin must be in or near South France but also that two of the referential highest frequency populations: Basques and Irish have high frequencies of unclassified S116* (see: http://forwhattheywereweare.blogspot.com/2015/06/some-improved-knowledge-of-major-r1b.html). Of course it could be one or two yet undescribed sublineages but in any case they add weight at the basal diversity scales for a Western, Atlantic, origin of the lineage.

      Related to this, I would like to know if there is any ancient Rh⁻ data from ancient DNA. AFAIK there is none, yet it is another marker of this Atlantic specificity that is again highest among Basques, Irish and other high R1b peoples, much like LCT or high frequencies of mtDNA H but even more tightly associated (and should be considered a neutral marker, because it is somewhat harmful to carriers, so it was not being selected for but rather product of founder effects and relative endogamy).

    3. I think it is entirely plausible that you have an R1b-L11 expansion out of France. But, where to those French R1b-L11 people come from? I think that the answer is most likely the Southern Steppe or West Asia sometime after the first wave Neolithic which is LBK-like everywhere we have found ancient DNA. But, I don't think that this source French R1b-L11 community or its Steppe/West Asian ancestral source was IE speaking. I think that they were proto-Vasconic by the time that they reached France and were part of some larger non-IE language family before then. And, I think that they may have been the neighbors of the PIE people to their North and had similar technologies.

    4. Re Rh-, while it is a neutral marker in general, I think it likely had an incremental impact in reducing the effect of intragression of neighboring populations that was one factor among others that helped the Basque maintain ethnic and linguistic identity better than other Vasconic people with less Rh-. While Rh- doesn't effect the first birth, at the relevant time periods typical women had 5+ live births and more pregnancies, so Rh- effects would impact almost all fertile women at some point. If an Rh+ outsider man tries to take a local Rh- wife, her odds of premature death and of reduced lifetime childbearing is greatly enhanced. And, a few bad experiences in those mixed Rh couples probably helps to foster a community ethic of endogamy which discourages women from marrying outsider men even in case where this particular woman and this particular man aren't actually Rh incompatible. Cases where there isn't a bad outcome get justified as cryptic Basque ancestry even if that actually isn't true.

    5. @Maju

      "1 or 2. Number 3 has all kind of issues"

      increasingly seems that way

    6. "But, where to those French R1b-L11 people come from?"

      That's what we don't know yet: it could be a Neolithic founder effect (R1b after all came from West Asia and the intermediate step M269 has strong presence in the Balcans) or it could be a borrowing from the sizable extra Paleoeuropean element in Atlantic Neolithic, much as mtDNA H may be.

      Re. Rh⁻: the effect is negligible: the firstborn is always healthy and among the rest only 13% are affected (if the mother has been sensitized, what does not always happen). If anything it does make very slightly more difficult for Rh⁺ men to have children with Rh⁻ women but, I insist, the effect is nearly zero and the fact that other Europeans (whose frequencies of Rh⁻ are, roughly, inversely correlative to their apparent Indoeuropean admixture, B group would be positively correlated instead) have experienced those admixture processes without further ado just dismisses the case.

      For me it is a matter of discerning with greater certainty the origins of this marker, which is clearly correlated with frequencies of Y-DNA R1b, many mtDNA H subclades and even to some extent with the LCT allele. But I won't attribute it strong selective properties: its effect is too weak to matter.

      " And, a few bad experiences in those mixed Rh couples probably helps to foster a community ethic of endogamy which discourages women from marrying outsider men even in case where this particular woman and this particular man aren't actually Rh incompatible".

      Infant mortality at birth was very common in the past, the Rh disease would be just another cause, not particularly noticeable. Also most modern Basques are Rh⁺ and they were probably so also in the Neolithic, so it's pointless to establish barriers to outsiders when the cause is at home. There are barriers to outsiders but they are others: language (outsiders may speak a lingua franca but in most cases will take long time to learn Basque and also Basque cultural patterns), place of living (outsiders mostly live outside, in faraway places, as the name implies) and bigotry.

      The main real reason why Basques have remained distinctive is because of successful armed resistance to invaders: first against Celts and later against Romans (while the early resistance failed, late Roman Era bagaudae succeeded). The only ones who were not resisted were Vandals and Suebi, who just passed by and settled elsewhere. A complementary reason is that, until the Medieval displacement of the economical center of Europe towards Flanders, the region had minimal interest, so even after Roman conquest the people were mostly left to their own devices. Even if the Basque Country probably did play a role in Chalcolithic Atlantic and land trade networks, this was within a Vasconic context, so the culture was not substantially affected (although maybe it affected the genetics in subtle ways).

    7. R1b came from the East. Over time it brought a number of technological innovations and cultural/metal features that resulted in the spread of Indo-European languages and present mix of male and female haplotypes in Europe. This as an overall story seems strongly supported by genetic, linguistic, and archeological evidence. I don't think any single story around the Basques, the Celts, etc. will change the larger picture much. In other words we know the start of the story ca. 3,500 BC and ending in 2,000 BC. While some chapters remain sparse, they don't change the plot.

    8. @Anon: attributing "technological innovations" to any specific lineage, is almost certainly wrong. Innovations are at least often enough transmitted by mere contact. Or also lineages can go in groups and then, for whatever accident (that we cannot explain in full detail because we the records do not exist) one of them experiences a so-called "founder effect" and succeeds in an area that his/her companions had ignored or failed at previously.

      Also your chrononologies are absolutely arbitrary. We don't "know" anything like what you claim.

  6. Well, I'm not really well acquainted with Beakers, but as a Galician I find really interesting several of the chapters of this books, most notably the chapter about the Beakers at the Dombate dolmen and the last one, showing some notable presence of corded styles and a clear relation to Brittany's. Ok, just for the case that you or another one of us readers find it of interest:

    1. Thanks for posting Cossue.

      This question will be difficult to test with DNA. So far it would appear that the CW contribution to Beaker happened after the Beaker Genesis. But if CW in the Western Pyrenees & N. Portugal actually sparked the Beaker Genesis in Iberia, then the question is did those Corded Ware people contribute to the male ancestry of Beakers?

      I will look at this apper again. Thx

  7. Thank for your time! Actually I was thinking about something you wrote... Maybe Central European beaker people -bringing corded styles and maybe IE languages- used/moved through the network established by the guys who used the Maritime styles, finally also reaching the Iberian Peninsula through the western Pyrenees, and Galicia by sea:


    Well. Wait and see... Again, thank you for you time :-)

    1. Lemércier et al. argued recently for a synchrony of corded and international style formation in SE France. I believe (but can't find it) that the same has been argued at some point in this blog regarding Iberia. They also argued for continuity between pre-Beaker and Beaker-using populations, as is apparent in all non-IE regions.

      Of course one can imagine that the corded style is inspired by Corded Ware but my impression is that, if there is any relation at all, this one is very thin. Corded Ware pottery is anything but "all over corded" (mostly the corded decoration is restricted to the lid area) and there are cases of corded decoration that are definitely unrelated, such as certain Neolithic culture of SE China which is also known as "corded ware".

      If we join the dots, AOC style almost certainly originated in SW Europe (like all the Bell Beaker phenomenon in general, several centuries older in Iberia, Southern France and North Italy than further north) and only then migrated north (in parallel to the maritime or international style). I have the impression that the paper you cite is stuck in obsolete chronologies and models that suggested that the BB phenomenon originated in or near Bohemia, something that now seems totally indefensible.

      BTW, I'm surprised that they don't even mention all the AOC BB in Catalonia and Portuguese Estremadura, being particularly common in both regions (in the latter mixed with the finer International style).

    2. @Maju
      Yes, don't now. But a network is usually travelled in multiple directions, so why not. Now, for the last paper, I think that the author clearly thinks that Beaker evolved initially south, but he also thinks that AOC in Galicia, together with "rusticated ware" and "Fischgrattenkeramic", have arrived from the North -by sea- as a ceramic complex, at a latter time.


    3. A. M. S. Bettencout, author of one of the papers of the first link, wrote:

      "Corded bell beaker vases are very rare in the Iberian Peninsula and only known in three Portuguese sites besides this one. We refer to the “settlement” or enclosure of Porto Torrão, Ferreira do Alentejo, in the Southwest, inside a Chalcolithic level dated to the 1st quarter of the 3rd millennium BC; to the walled enclosure of the Castelo Velho de Freixo de Numão, Vila Nova de Foz Côa, in a range of use from the beginning to the third quarter of the 3rd millennium BC and the walled enclosure of Castanheiro do Vento, Vila Nova de Foz Côa, probably from the Chalcolithic context. And finally, the fragment found is very similar to the one discussed here, therefore, it can be included in the “Herringbone variety”"

      So, I think that they use AOC in a more restricted, continental meaning, since they say nothing about Estremadura.


    4. I quote from a 1989 University manual (this chapter signed by Manuel Pellicer):

      ... el Campaniforme cordado (...) ampliamente documentada en Bohemia, Rin, Ródano, Languedoc y Rosellón y, dentro de la Península, en Cataluña, Levante, Aragón, Vasconia, Alto Ebro y Badajoz.

      So, at least according to Pellicer, AOC existed not in Estremadura (my poor memory?) but certainly in all the Eastern coasts and Ebro Valley, as well as some other locations, something that is not reflected in their map. I don't think there is any difference between "AOC" and "corded" style: they are clearly synonyms.

      This Wikimedia map does suggest a two phases model: first Maritime, then reflux but that would make the corded ware not older but more recent. I don't think this is correct either (but prove me wrong).

      I wonder if the corded style spread from the SE of France in fact, maybe after some sort of intrusive IE influence (considered apparently as possible by Lemercier, because "the way they were realised squares with specific technical traditions"). If so the AOC beakers of Galicia might have arrived from the Basque or Western French area via the Bay of Biscay within the context of the SW province. Of course relations with the Western province (islands, Rhine basin) are perfectly possible but since your reference is ignoring all the AOC area in NE Iberia, I'm thinking he may be missing something important.

    5. I would really like to have for these discussions a good all-Europe map or map series of styles and chronologies within the Bell Beaker phenomenon. It would help a lot but it seems impossible to find anything like that, at least not online: it's like the research is all fragmented.

  8. @Maju
    "I would really like to have...it's like the research is all fragmented"
    I totally agree! And because of this fragmentation, it's no easy matter to judge what's going on.

    Best book (to show a general view of prehistoric Europe) I have at hand now it's Barry Cunliffe's (er, Barry's Cunliffe?) "Europe between de Oceans. 9000 BC - AD 1000". In p. 204 he includes a map based on Maritime Bell Beaker, and he really draws two way maritime routes from/to Estremadura/Central Portugal - Brittany, seaway that passed through Galicia: "The initial spread of Maritime bell beaker took place along the Atlantic seaways in the middle centuries of the third millennium, using the well established routes between the Tagus and Morbihan/Loire estuary regions that have been in operation at least since the initial spread of the megalithic passage graves two millennia previously." Sadly, he's not that clear about corded beakers, but he affirms that beaker people that came into the British isles were the result of the interaction of Maritime beakers and Corded Ware, first in the Rhin, latter in "northern France".

    Referring the paper of José Suárez Otero, he clearly states that in Galicia Maritime _precedes_, then _it's older_, than AOC and associated cultural manifestations. So AOC is locally -and I guess he also thinks that the same is true globally- later than Maritime. Now, I can't put my hand in the fire for him, but maybe some pieces have been reclassified in the last 25 years. Anyway, in his map I see points in Catalonia, in Castelló, in Euskadi and Nafarroa, in Cantabria... That's not that different of what Pellicer wrote.

    Of course, I guess corded beakers in Galicia could have came from the East, but there appears to be a direct seaway Galicia - Brittany - Brittish isles (http://www.csarmento.uminho.pt/docs/ndat/rg/RGVE1999_005.pdf), and there are a number of archaeological and cultural manifestations that are present in Galicia and Brittany and the Isles, but not -to the same extend, and as long as I know- in the Pyrenees, as for example, gapped cup and ring marks, or the Late Atlantic Bronze Age complex:
    Maybe we can add here the 7% of R1b M529 among Galician males vs. 2-3% in Basques.

    Anyway, in https://www.academia.edu/5952632/Current_researches_on_Bell_Beakers, Bello Diéguez affirms with respect to the beaker finds in the dolmen de Dombate: "It is important to note that the pottery found on this site is truly exceptional, and that all of its features point towards an intense relationship between Galicia and the Atlantic coast towards Brittany".


    1. Unrelated, but referring to what I said about late Atlantic Bronze Age, Cunliffe presents a map in p. 255 of aforementioned work, with the distribution of roasting spits, flesh hooks and cauldrons in western Europe. In Iberia they are present in between the Tagus and Ebro rivers, in the Atlantic coast and in the Central plateau; in France, in between the Seine and Garonne. And then, in Ireland, and in southern England. Apparently, no finds in between the Ebro and Garonne. Wow.

    2. "In Iberia they are present in between the Tagus and Ebro rivers, in the Atlantic coast and in the Central plateau;" should be read as "in the NW quarter of the Iberian peninsula, but not particularly in the coastal areas in and beyond modern day Cantabria, nor north and east of the Ebro."


    3. The materials are all quite interesting, thank you. However I get the impression that the Atlantic connections rather belong to the Bronze Age, or at least they are more clear than in the Late Chalcolithic (Bell Beaker) period. It is in the Atlantic Bronze Age when the Iberia - Britain (and Ireland) interactions are much more marked in all aspects. It is also a more plausible period for direct open ocean navigation between Galicia and Cornwall, as suggested in the Cunliffe map. Notice anyhow that alternative cabotage routes along the Bay of Biscay's coasts are also marked and, for the little I know about ancient navigation, these were used for sure, even if only because some seasons (winter particularly) were much worse for open seas sailing. Said all this, it does not mean that some of those interactions did not happen already in the Chalcolithic: they probably did.

    4. Yep. I totally agree; even as late as in 1200 the navigation from the British isles to the Mediterranean went through coastal routes (cf. "De Viis Maris", http://www.arkeotavira.com/Estudos/Cronicas/De-viis-maris-HispaniaR.pdf). Still, it appear that during the late Bronze, and maybe at times before that, there was a direct way: http://anuariobrigantino.betanzos.net/Ab2010PDF/2010%20027_056%20CANO%20%20y%20BRAGE%20_LANGOSTEIRA.pdf.