Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Beakers for Dummies (Lemercier) *Update*

Thanks to Oliver Lemercier for uploading this to youtube.  This was on the flier from two weeks ago.

Update 12/1/2015

Oliver Lemercier graciously offered the speaker's notes [here]. < ok, should be visible now.

I'll give a brief summary in English, paraphrasing everything (I believe correctly).  Remember you can cut and paste the document into the Google Translate engine.

What I've done here is summarize by slide.   I've also added time hacks to the speaker's notes if you want to do a side by side.

Slide 1:  Intro
Slide 2   (0:17)  Quest to completely immerse himself in knowledge of the total phenomenon
Slide 3   (1:17)  Prophetic words of Jacques-Pierre and André Millotte Thevenin 'If you want to understand the Beaker phenomenon, be prepared to write the history's history'
Slide 4   (1:47)  Spanning 275 years, of the thousands of references and hundreds of authors Lemercier has read concerning the Beaker phenomenon, he believes much more is out there.  Many publications are now coming to light, being digitized and translated from the many languages of Europe.
Slide 5   (4:18)  Highlights of Beaker historiography:
Slide 6   (4:36)  Beaker slowly comes to light.  Williams Stuckeley, Richard Colt Hoare, Oscar Montelius
Slide 7   (6:17)  Abercromby's "Bell Beakers", a race of invaders from Europe, then Iberia
Slide 8   (6:50)  Every region of Europe has at one time been considered the source
Slide 9   (7:01)  For fifty years, Iberia dominates, Gimpera, Schmidt, Jaroslav, Palliardi, Evans, Childe
Slide 10 (8:05)  Merchants, Warriors, Prospectors?  Iberia questioned, more questions about the relationship of Corded Ware leading to the sixties.
Slide 11 (9:55)  Sangmeister's "Ruckstrom" reconciles Iberia and Holland.  The archaeological community is split from the 60's.  The English speaking world rejects migration and culture for material causes "Functionality".
Slide 12 (11:09)  Big data transforms Beakerology in the 1970's.  "Functionalist" views dominate "Ethnic" views of Beaker in the archaeological community
Slide 13 (12:38)  The Dutch Model dominates from 1976 and twenty years thereafter.  It sees and origin in the Dutch Corded Ware.
Slide 14 (12:50)  Jean Guilaine further updates beaker typologies
Slide 15 (13:20)  Christian Strahm is one of the more important authors in Lemercier's opinion, effectively separating the early Beaker from later divergences.  At the same time, Harry Folkens looking at the regional data in the Netherlands further questions the dominance of the Dutch model
Slide 16 (13:56)  Muller and van Willigen show a clear dating cline from SW Europe to NE Europe
Slide 17 (14:16)  Laure Salanova introduces a 'standard Beaker' of the Atlantic and to the current period there is division amongst all archaeologist, mainly between the Portuguese and Dutch proponents.
Slide 18 (15:07)  The Functionalist school is still alive and well, however there is growing acknowledgement of movement and genetic population turnover among archaeologists.
Slide 19 (16:27)  Having an open mind to these questions and having studied them very well, Lemercier has arrived at some conclusions:
Slide 20 (17:06) 1.  Bell Beaker is not geographically or chronologically homogeneous.  There is an initial Beaker phenomenon, a period of substrate integration, and finally the beginning of the EBA.
Slide 21 (17:48)  2. Beaker does not replace older cultures in the initial phase, the older cultures generally continuing to contribute to the regional Bronze Age.
Slide 22 (18:15)  3.  Beaker, in the first phase, is generally a regional phenomenon, according to the area's substrate.
Slide 23 (19:02)  4.  Again, in the first phase, the 'Beaker package' is really regionally dependent.
Slide 24 (19:26)  5.  The Beaker package varies everywhere, but probably indicate important people.
Slide 25 (19:47)  6.  A codified burial rite is everywhere, maybe more such as cremation.  Collective burials are everywhere too
Slide 26 (20:16)  7.  The Beaker culture and drinking equipment appears to have its origin in Eastern Europe according to current understanding.  However, it's from the West.
Slide 27 (20:58)  8.  Beaker drinking equipment has influences from everywhere.  What influences are more important than others? 
Slide 28 (21:55)  9.  The oldest Atlantic beakers are Maritime.
Slide 29 (22:16)  10.  Mobility, migration may explain much of this, but not all of it.
Slide 30 (22:36)  11.  Many elements point to a spread South to North, West to East.  But later this becomes multi-polar exchange.  Sangmeister's "Ruckstrom", regarded as too complex originally, in later times now seems much too simple.  Alain Gallay is researching these complex networks now.
Slide 31 (23:27)  12.  Some social dimensions are observable from funerary arrangements.  It is a warrior culture.  Some ideological dimensions are easier to understand such as the drinking equipment.
Slide 32 (23:57)  13.  The Beaker phenomenon could be the result of West Iberian civilization incorporating an ideology of Eastern origin.
Slide 33 (24:09)  Lemercier makes an important case that the core archaeological sciences should not be neglected in favor of big data sciences like genetics, isotopes, etc.  He says that basic archaeological studies are still too few and there remains too many questions that risk not being developed or funded. 
Slide 34 (24:56)  Lemercier speaks of his 'Greek Colonial Model' of Mediterranean France which has been well received.
Slide 35 (25:20)  The real enigma of the Beaker Culture is not the Beakers themselves, but the limits of archaeological science given such a narrow period so distant in the past and without a historical record.
Slide 36 (26:28)  End.

Upcoming Paper on Beaker Archery...

Here's one of two theses that I'm looking forward to seeing in the near future.  This one looks to be undergoing a review at the University of Geneva.  It is authored by Master's candidate Jessica Ryan.

Boar's Tusk Pendant (Left) Meare Heath Bow (Right)

Musculoskeletal Stress Markers as Indicators of Physical Activities: A Case Study for Archery in Bell-Beaker Burials

The Bell-Beaker culture is one of the most distinguished cultures from the Final Neolithic period in Europe and North Africa due to its unique material culture, diffusion throughout Europe, and funerary processes. During this time, certain inhumations begin to contain a distinctive type of stone wrist guard. These stone wrist guards are currently interpreted as a piece of protective equipment used by archers, however their fabrication in stone and lack of evidence of usage raises the question of their practicality. Were they used in the everyday lives of warriors or were they symbolic? If these wrist guards were, in fact, symbolic, that indicates a higher importance placed on archery during this time. This study aims to answer the question of whether or not the individuals inhumed with such objects were archers themselves, an answer that could influence the symbolic interpretation of these Bell-Beaker wrist guards. This study examines archaeological archery contexts throughout the Final Neolithic Period and then applies those interpretations to individuals buried with traditional archery equipment, mainly stone wrist guards, but also artifacts associated with archery such as arrowheads and bow-shaped pendants. Secondly, the anthropological aim is to create a methodology using modern medical reports, human biomechanics, and analyses of enthesial changes and musculoskeletal stress markers (MSM) in order to identify the probability that a certain individual was a specialized archer based on the presence of likely Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI). This method is applied to a control group of individuals from the 16th century coming from a known context with specialized archers, which then allows this method to be applied to a group of Bell-Beaker individuals from numerous Bohemian burials. Advancements in the study of RSIs and MSMs can better solidify the existing hypotheses pertaining to the daily activities of various individuals and cultural groups from a very important and innovative time in human history as well as contribute to the current understanding and processes of comparative human osteology. A better understanding of these individuals enhances the overall comprehension of the possible symbolic meaning the stone wrist guards particular to the Bell-Beaker culture.

If you look closely at the bow-shaped pendants, you'll notice that they have what looks like banding which would indicate the use of bows like the Meare Heath Bow, roughly contemporary with the Beaker phenomenon.  The reconstruction of that bow is roughly 90lbs draw weight, so if this was a common draw weight for an average man of that time, then there should be plenty of injuries.

In old European mythology, the moon goddess was associated with archery and boars, presumably due to the crescent-shape of the tusks.  It's possible that archers wore these amulets as protection from shock injuries, tendonitis or arthritis.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Mount Holy Cow! (Huet & Bianchi, 2015)

The name of the French mountain, Mont Bégo, is thought to mean 'divine cow' in Indo-European.  This study looks at the large number of petroglyphs at Bego and tries to categorize them by age and interpret the importance of their distribution.

Lac inf. de Peyrefique, Mont Bego à l'horizo, Giovanni Prunotto

In the middle of the graphic below is a flat-faced, triangular rock, Roche de l'Autel (Rock of the Alter), that looks kind of like a dagger and it has a bunch of daggers and cow heads etched on it.  The overwhelming majority of glyphs on the mountain are cows (80%) and other horned figures.  Daggers and halberds make another 7%.

The mountain was apparently a holy place to Ligurians, although almost no petroglyphs are from the Iron Age, which may be due to the fact that the area was popsicles at this altitude at that time.  The first engravings appear in the Early Neolithic, probably by Cardial folk, then peter out in the Bronze Age.

Fig. 7.
Central East part of Vallée des Merveilles with Roche de l'Autel. View from the Lac des Conques plateau.
What's interesting is that the dagger types change through the periods, and that's basically how everything is able to be dated along with axes and halberds.  So different people over a long period of time are drawing daggers on stuff.  Even the lake, Merveilles, looks like dagger.  More >Rupestre

I wonder what's under the gravel or in the lake.  Daggers?  Cow bones?

A study of the Roche de l'Autel's pecked engravings, Les Merveilles sector, Mont Bego area (Alpes-Maritimes, France)

  • a Université Nice Sophia-Antipolis, CEPAM-CNRS single bond UMR 7264, France
  • b Université de Perpignan Via Domitia, MEDI-TERRA single bond EA 4605, France
Surfaces suitable for rock art at the base of Mont Bego, in the south-western Alps, gave rise to one of the most important concentrations of rock art in Western Europe. The open-air rock art site features some 20,000 figurative engravings pecked on 4200 rocks. The Merveilles sector was in use since the Early Neolithic, and perhaps even earlier, with the beginning of Holocene.
At the site scale, geostatistical analyses have permitted to identify geographical variables, or variables intrinsic to the rock, correlated to high concentrations of engravings. Cross checking of these results and study of superimpositions have permitted to build a provisional periodization frame for most common engraved themes.
To test the relevance of this chronological frame, we transpose some analyses conducted at the site scale to the rock scale; for the Roche de l'Autel, the highest concentration of engravings and dagger representations of the site. The rock lies in the central part of the Vallée des Merveilles, near important pastoral paths and at a gateway of the engraved area. While its location can partly explain these concentrations, the main reason may be found in the rock's triangular shape. In Western Europe, during the last part of Neolithic, triangular shapes seem to become the iconic reference for daggers.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Territorialité, transferts, interculturalités dans les contextes de la diffusion du Campaniforme en Europe [Besse]

This is a short summary of the Beaker phenomenon by Marie Besse in 2014, published in 2015.  It's only eleven pages but you'll need to translate into English.

She outlines some of the basic problems and interpretations.   Lauri Salanova, Jocelyne Desideri and Oliver Lermercier are mentioned with what appears to be approval of the notion that there were two formative phases of Beakers, an initial group and a mature hybrid group.

Some attention is given to the presence of gypsum inlay paste in the funerary pottery in certain zones.  Of course, bone paste appears more common throughout, although limestone appears in other areas.

One thing that interesting about gypsum, is gypsum veins often occur in ancient soils with high amounts of iron oxide (red).  You can see this is the graphic above or you may google an see this in various aspects.  It's interesting that funerary pottery would be so distinguished maybe as representing the underworld?  (where might we find geologies such as this?)


It seems beaker pottery is laden with metaphoric meanings, the underworld, rebirth, identity, so forth.

Territorialité, transferts, interculturalités dans les contextes de la diffusion du Campaniforme en Europe.  Marie Besse

Les systèmes de mobilité de la Préhistoire au Moyen Âge XXXVe rencontres internationales d’archéologie et d’histoire d’Antibes Sous la direction de N. Naudinot, L. Meignen, D. Binder, G. Querré Éditions APDCA, Antibes, 2015  [Link]

The end of the Neolithic era in Occidental Europe and Northern Africa is characterised
by the presence of a very homogeneous ceramic type – the bell beaker. As determining
elements of the Bell Beaker culture, these beakers in the shape of inversed bells (hence
the name), decorated with geometric patterns, are found in well-defined natural and
cultural contexts. Although homogeneous at first glance, the Bell Beaker culture does
not reveal a centralised production sites for these richly decorated ceramics. It does not
reflect an economic network, nor a single group of people. As a complex culture, the
Bell Beaker phenomenon must be studied in the diversity of its cultural components
and in the difference of its transfer mechanisms. This allows for the identification of
territoriality and intercultural components of societies of the 3rd millennium BC.
Keywords : Europe, Neolithic, Bell Beaker Culture, Interculturality, Networks

BESSE, Marie. Territorialités, transferts, interculturalités dans les contextes de la diffusion du
Campaniforme en Europe. In: Naudinot N., Meignen L., Binder D., Querré G. Les systèmes de
mobilité de la préhistoire au Moyen Âge : XXXVe rencontres internationales
d’archéologie et d’histoire d’Antibes. Antibes : Editions APDCA, 2015. p. 419-430

Urnfield Radio-Carbon Dates (Capuzzo, 2014)

Over a week ago, I posted a radiocarbon study by Stockhammer et al (2015) "Reordering the Central European Early Bronze Age Chronology" [the post]

To bookend this, I reached back to a radiocarbon study this last year on the Urnfielders in the Southern domain, popularly accepted by many to be proto-Celts.  The Capuzzo study takes a set of diagnostic materials like weapons or urns and lays them out spatially.  The study can be reduced down to a few points:

1)  Cremation as a dominant rite was gradual in its ascent and generally lagged behind weapons, etc.
2)  The components of Urnfield appear to have spread at slightly different times.
3)  The evidence for a massive population increase is shaky that can be explained by other factors.
4)   Things moved East to West during the entire period and this is evidence, he suggests, that Koch's 'Celtic from the West' doesn't work with as formulated:
"As a conclusion for the period 1800-750 BC we can definitely exclude the existence of a West to East space-time gradient, like that one suggested as a possible hypothesis for the spread of Celtic people by Cunliffe and Koch (Cunliffe & Koch 2010; Koch & Cunliffe 2013)."

Neither this study or the former will tell you anything about Bronze Age speech, but they offer additional hard points, or windows, in which things were likely to happen across large regions.  Capuzzo is sensitive to this since he is dealing with the proto-historic period in which language begins to be attested or deduced.  Of course I'm a bit more interested in the LN/EBA, but the Urnfield identity has implications for that earlier time.

This study by Capuzzo shows a somewhat uneven spread of Urnfield stuff, meaning that people may have accumulated diagnostic materials over a time.  This is somewhat backwards from the much earlier Beaker phenomenon IMO where the initial phase is conservative, followed by regional variation and drift.

Urnfield spread from a place where a high diversity of Centum languages existed in early history.  It's possible Urnfield planted a very hypothetical Nordwestblock language from the lower Elbe down past the Rhine (basically the blue northern coastal area in the map).  Also not shown above, is its spotty spread in the West and in Southern Britain (at least its artifacts).  

A traditional view is that Urnfielders were Celts who later spread to the Atlantic via the Iron Age Hallstatt and La Tene cultures.  If a warrior elite spread language to the Atlantic, it would have been an exceeding small aristocracy, something like the Viking kingdoms in later times.

One interesting point Capuzzo makes is this:

"It is meaningful to remember that the developing of Etruscan culture originates in the Villanovan and Proto-Villanovan cultures [a type of Urnfield] that practiced the funerary ritual of the cremation, which is also attested among the Etruscan communities"

It's possible that the Urnfield tradition or aristocracy did not speak IE at all, instead something more akin to Rhaetic, Lemnic or Proto-Eutruscan.  Perhaps Etruscan instead invaded an Italy that already had widespread proto-Italic languages.  It does appear that the rites and materials of Urnfield spread from the southeast if the continent.

There's also a few problems that Koch laid out. From "A Case for Tartessian as a Celtic Language" by Koch:
"However, once we recognize evidence for Celtic in the western Peninsula as early as the Orientalizing Period of the Early Iron Age (VIIIth-VIth centuries BC), then we confront the likelihood that the Atlantic Late Bronze Age had already been a largely or wholly Celtic-speaking phenomenon and that the subsequent penetration of the region by Urnfield, Hallstatt, and La Tène influences would not be relevant or only relevant as a matter of inter-Celtic dialectology.
"A Case for Tartessian as a Celtic Language" (Koch)

It seems the Atlantic LBA may not be the origin of Celtic names and peoples further east, but I think Koch has a point in that Urnfield has a ton of problems being 'Celtic' at the local levels, especially when the areas least affected are very Celtic.

If ALBA doesn't work, the old Centum languages in the West go back to the EBA, otherwise it's Urnfield.  It's hard to see anything else on this scale.

Space-Temporal Analysis of Radiocarbon Evidence and Associated Archaeological Record: From Danube to Ebro Rivers and from Bronze to Iron Ages.  Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona.  Giacomo Capuzzo (2014) [link] or [link]

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Cave of Ide Kaf Taht El Ghar, City of Tetouan

I would only take guide recommendations from local consulates, however this is a pretty snappy video featuring Kaf Taht El Ghar over looking the city of Tetouan.  You can skip to the cave at 4:00m.

The cave was frequented (very early) by people of the Cardial tradition in two phases, and then by Ackakar/Skhirat ceramics and finally the Bell Beakers (below).  Palynological and archaeobotanical analysis shows the earliest Cardial folk had wheat, cattle, pigs and goats.  (Ballouche & Marinval, 2003)

About an hour southwest of this is the  "Circle of Mzoura", which is nearly the same age and size of Stonehenge in Salisbury.  It was built with the same megalithic yard system and geometry. 

Caf Taht el Gar, cueva neolítica en la región
de Tetuán (Marruecos) (TIRRADBELL, 1957)

More [Link] & [Link]

Monday, November 16, 2015

Bee-Line! (Roffet-Salque et al, Nature, 2015)

“Our study is the first to provide unequivocal evidence, based solely on a chemical ‘fingerprint’, for the palaeoecological distribution of an economically and culturally important animal.  It shows widespread exploitation of the honeybee by early farmers and pushes back the chronology of human-honeybee association to substantially earlier dates.”
This study is huge, huge, huge.  It shows, almost conclusively, that the honeybee was managed and domesticated from the earliest Near Eastern Neolithic.  It shows the ingenuity, resourcefulness and intellectual curiosity of the earliest farmers.   From Nature via Popular Archaeology

The biggest benefit of the honeybee in the West is that she is a pollinator and this increases crop yields among cereals but especially among early farmer nuts and fruits like olives, pomegranate and grapes.  (ask the Chinese guy with a feature duster wired to a stick) The distribution of wax particles in ceramic sherds as seen in the map above almost necessitates some domestication features, one being that the hive would have to produce enough honey in a place with a long winter.

Domestic bees also need to have a reasonable amount of defensive instinct to ward off all the claws that find their way into a hive, but without going ape-shit and killing the beekeeper (like Africanized European honeybees).  An important deciding factor for modern beekeepers around the world in many climes is temperament, as certain environments require a more defensive reaction to raccoon hands, wasps, fire-ants, bear claws, etc.  So bee temperament is little like the horns on cattle, good when you need them, bad when you don't.

Because BBB does everything and knows everything, I can tell you having took my first hive apart three years ago it is an exercise in extreme pucker-factor.  Any beekeeper will tell you that observation is how you learn.  And for farmers this must have involved lots of watching and puckering.

In the Paleolithic, this was observation of beelines and knowing how to smoke the hive, but evidently the farmers (Çatalhöyük is earliest in this study) learned how to make bee traps and artificial hives which they were able to transport over water (assuming their harvesting was always destructive at this stage).  As the paper shows, bees were introduced by humans in Neolithic Britain, so we are absolutely dealing with human importation as this is out of worker bee range and way outside swarm range, which is irrelevant if a worker can't scout to begin with.

This study examines pottery throughout the West and finds beeswax in a good number of the interiors (this being underestimated as they note in Neolithic Spain).  As mentioned two blog posts ago, it had been theorized that beeswax had been used to 'glaze' or water-proof the interior of drinking ceramics (Heron and Evershed 1993; Charters and Evershed 1995).  [I'm guessing this was buffed into the interior walls a little like turtle wax)  So whereas mead has variously been supposed to have been a beverage of early times based on residue analysis, it may be that the beaker contained other liquids in a container sealed with beeswax.

Beekeeping is nearly impossible understand looking at a fossil record.  The authors of this study have taken an interesting way to show something very exciting.  In many ways, beekeeping is like falconry [my comments here], which is teasingly faint but present enough to make us speculate.

Widespread exploitation of the honeybee by early Neolithic farmers
Mélanie Roffet-Salque1, Martine Regert2, Richard P. Evershed1, Alan K. Outram3, Lucy J. E. Cramp1,4, Orestes Decavallas5,6, Julie Dunne1, Pascale Gerbault7,8, Simona Mileto1,9, Sigrid Mirabaud6†, Mirva Pääkkönen1,10, Jessica Smyth1,4, Lucija Šoberl1,11†, Helen L. Whelton1, Alfonso Alday-Ruiz12, Henrik Asplund10, Marta Bartkowiak13, Eva Bayer-Niemeier14, Lotfi Belhouchet15, Federico Bernardini16,17, Mihael Budja11, Gabriel Cooney18, Miriam Cubas19†, Ed M. Danaher20, Mariana Diniz21, László Domboróczki22, Cristina Fabbri23, Jesus E. González-Urquijo19, Jean Guilaine24, Slimane Hachi25, Barrie N. Hartwell26, Daniela Hofmann27, Isabel Hohle28, Juan J. Ibáñez29, Necmi Karul30, Farid Kherbouche25, Jacinta Kiely31, Kostas Kotsakis32, Friedrich Lueth33, James P. Mallory26, Claire Manen24, Arkadiusz Marciniak13, Brigitte Maurice-Chabard34, Martin A. McGonigle35, Simone Mulazzani36,37, Mehmet Özdoğan30, Olga S. Perić38, Slaviša R. Perić38, Jörg Petrasch39, Anne-Marie Pétrequin40, Pierre Pétrequin40, Ulrike Poensgen41, C. Joshua Pollard42, François Poplin43, Giovanna Radi23,
Peter Stadler44, Harald Stäuble45, Nenad Tasić46, Dushka Urem-Kotsou47, Jasna B. Vuković46, Fintan Walsh48, Alasdair Whittle49, Sabine Wolfram50, Lydia Zapata-Peña12‡ & Jamel Zoughlami5
doi:10.1038/nature15757 2015 Nature Communications [Doc Link]

See also [University of Bristol]

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Another Pig Study

Another volley in the pig domestication war continues...

Now we have this study on pigs of the Biarzo shelter in Italy, where the authors suggest that the mtdna evidence could suggest pig domestication was a continuous, native process to Europe from the Mesolithic, not necessarily the chattel of farmers from the Near East.  (Their position seems more nuanced than this, but basically that's the gist)

Wild boar are wanderers unlike most vertebrates and don't have a particular routine, territory or migratory route.  This fluidity makes genetic phylogeny-geography analyses a little shaky IMO, never mind that pigs are the most prolific mammal of its size.  I think because of this, you may get results such as:
"We found that a rapid mitochondrial DNA turnover occurred during the Mesolithic, suggesting that substantial changes in the composition of pig mitochondrial lineages can occur naturally across few millennia independently of domestication processes.  Moreover, so-called Near Eastern haplotypes were present here at least two millennia before the arrival of Neolithic package in the same area."
And then sitting up in the coffin he began speaking:
"Consequently, we recommend a re-evaluation of the previous idea that Neolithic farmers introduced pigs domesticated in the Near East, and that Mesolithic communities acquired domestic pigs via cultural exchanges, to include the possibility of a more parsimonious hypothesis of local domestication in Europe."
Sorry, I'm very cynical on the existence of Islands of Excellence.  I don't see anything worthy of parsimonious treatment either.  Certainly there were intellectually curious individuals 50,000 or 100,000 years ago.  Why didn't they domesticate the boar if domesticating the boar is both beneficial and obvious?  Maybe that's because a lot of this comes down to culture and economics, like that of the ancient Near East, and not that of heathen, spear-chucker hunters. [See Also]
A sounder eating BBB's corn!
"...Larson in two seminal papers10,35, affirms that pigs domesticated in the Near East were introduced into Europe..., but that soon after the genetic legacy of these pigs and their descendants were lost due to constant hybridization with European wild boars, replacement by pigs domesticated in Europe, or both. This hypothesis is based on two pillars: 1) temporal changes of mtDNA lineages in Europe are related to domestication, and 2) NE-Y mtDNA lineages appearing and then disappearing in some sites in Europe are genetic markers of Near Eastern domestic pigs. Clearly, our main results shake these pillars."
Fair enough.  Also, they make reference to a recent paper by Evin et al, 2015 (Ref 40 in the paper) showing a clear East-West division in the dental morphology of boars with Europe/North Africa on a western side and Russia/Near East on the other.  (In the above graphic you see essentially crosses between feral hogs and Russian boars)

Back to the pillars of parsimony.  Parsimony is savages domesticating the pig a hundred thousand years ago in Europe.  I'm being facetious, but seriously, if it is so self-evident to a hunter-gatherer to stockade a wild boar, then why wait?  The simplest explanation is that the husbandry here was done by husbandmen, with fences, knowledge, social structures, economies, etc.  I'll be satisfied to be proved wrong.

A somewhat related topic..

One interesting subject is the abhorrence to pork in the modern Middle East, which is sort of ironic given that this is likely where the pig was domesticated.  

The change in attitudes to pork appears to have been a slow process, first in the polytheistic religions and then followed by Judaism.  I came across Chapter 2 of this book: Eat Not This Flesh by Frederick J. Simoons (free via ebook) 

Vai, S. et al. The Biarzo case in northern Italy: is the temporal dynamic of swine mitochondrial DNA lineages in Europe related to domestication? Sci. Rep. 5, 16514; doi: 10.1038/srep16514 (2015). [link]

Monday, November 2, 2015

Interesting Corded Ware Grave

This is the silhouette grave of a Corded Ware person in Twello, Central Netherlands (published Jan 2015).  He or she was buried latitude-wise in a ditched rondelle, except looking North, in the center of a later Urnfield.  The vessel at the feet was Protruding Foot Beaker identified by the authors as a type 1d, after Lanting and VanderWaals (1976).  Here's an example of how this beaker is categorized (within the perspective of the 'Dutch Model', see chart on page 193)

The Twello Silhouette Grave.

After looking at the typo-chronological chart on page 193 of Folkens & Nichols, the following context will show why this as an interesting transitional grave.  Up to this point in the history of the Corded Ware in the Netherlands, the authors explain that daggers are made of Scandinavian flint in the PFB phase, suggesting a culture that is socially oriented to the North and East of Europe along with other things.

The beginning of the Dutch All-Over-Ornamented phase (confusingly interpreted as Bell Beaker, transitional from CW to BB, other times as a hybrid of the two) is typically associated with finer honey-colored flint from below the Paris region, called the Grand Pressigny flint.  The flint blade of this grave is neither, but is a ghost gray flint called Hesbaye flint, that come from a mine near Avennes, Belgian Wallonia.

Type 1d Protruding Foot Beaker after Lanting/VanderWaals 1976

The axe is also abnormal to a typical SGC flint battleaxe.  This one is made from grano-diorite, as they believe coming from the Hautes Fagnes area in eastern Belgian Wallonia.  This windsock change in resourcing prior to the AOO phase may reinvigorate some debate in the genesis of AOO beakers, particularly in the Lowlands.

Harry Folkens mentions in his paper on the "Background to Beakers" on page 19, that type 1d & 1e PFB's often are found among All-Over-Ornamented beakers (AOO he considers to be Bell Beaker as differentiated from many Dutch archaeologists), but AOO and Vlaardigan hillbillly ceramics also co-exist in the marshy lowlands of this transitional phase.

2631 – 2454 cal BC
This grave has the potential to be interpreted in a number of ways.  One group may say that this shows the correctness of Lanting and Van der Waals original evolutionary scheme in the Veluwe region (Central) Netherlands, from the type 1d phase to the AOO phase ushering in the Bell Beakers, expanding throughout the Netherlands.  (This is probably a good time to pause and refer to Harry Folkens simplified narrative of the Dutch Hypothesis to non-Dutchmen, which can illuminate a confusing topic)

Another way to look at this is that the PFB culture, and specifically its late type 1d phase, has come under the influence of outsiders, typified by the AOO Bell Beaker folk who are simultaneously extending their influence upon the Vlaardingen Culture of the North and West as well as the indigenous Corded Ware of the Central and East.  In this scenario, there still may be Corded Ware influence, but not from here.  Either way, this would be evidence of an intrusive network, disrupting an older network.

Or they are simple hybrids, a fission between two different cultures and peoples at the atomic level, possibly Maritime folk and PFB folk?  I think in a number of places we see Beakerized Corded Ware folk, the Lowlands may be one of those places.  I've commented before on the haplogroups of Northeastern Scotland, which may be evidence that some Corded lineages fared better in the West, like the Lowlands, fared better than others.

The Dutch were brewing wheat beers even when this Protruding Foot Beaker was buried as it contained a 'primitive wheat beer', which I guess is supposed to mean, un-hopped.* Also interesting is that the interior appears to have been glazed with animal fat.  Glazing the lining beakers with wax and animal fat is noted by (Heron and Evershed 1993; Charters and Evershed 1995).

See also
Dutch Chronology Revisited, Sandra Beckerman (2012)

A Late Neolithic Single Grave Culture burial from Twello (central Netherlands): environmental setting, burial ritual and contextualisation
Lucas Meurkens, Roy van Beek, Marieke Doorenbosch, Harry Fokkens, Eckhart Heunks,
Cynthianne Debono Spiteri, Sebastiaan Knippenberg, Els Meirsman, Erica van Hees and Annemieke Verbaas (2015)  [Link]

* A little more on gruits, Reinheitsgebot,etc.   (I'd roll the dice and guess that a juniperberry-based gruit, such as Finnish Sahti, was common among the Northern Corded Ware**)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Dublin Archaeology Hosts Fitzpatrick* Beaker Seminar (Updated


Thanks to Jean for pointing out that I kept calling Andrew Fitzpatrick, Kirkpatrick.  What's bizarre is that I googled Andrew Fitzpatrick to find his book, then referenced it below as Kirkpatrick's book.
Call it dyslexia I guess!  Anyhow, it is Dr. Andrew Fitzpatrick.

"The Amesbury archer- Migration and Knowledge in the Copper Age"

The UCD blog has a report by Emily Glenn-Farrell of a seminar this last week by Andrew Fitzpatrick (15 Oct 2015).  Most everything is it is fairly straight down the middle, although some points are more controversial.

Fitzpatrick expressed some skepticism about the role of Northern Europe in the Beakerization of the Isles, instead emphasizing Spain and France.

He also mentioned that Beakers must have had peaceful relations with the natives, otherwise they wouldn't have had the mobilty and freedom to interact the way they did.

See UCD blog 

**Update 11/1**
I thought I'd add plug Andrew Fitzpatrick's book:

"The Amesbury Archer and the Boscombe Bowmen: Bell Beaker Burials at Boscombe Down, Amesbury and Wiltshire"

A lot of it is available FREE via the link, the entire book is $16.50