Eurogenes put up a particular abstract that will be presented at the Archéologie et Goblets conference in Kiel. It will be a summary of the larger behemoth paper to come by Olalde, Reich and others, as Craig mentioned below (was unable to see the abstract link this morning)
Right now I want to focus on what will be the most sensational and newest material from the paper Western Europe during the third millennium BCE: A genetic characterization of the Bell Beaker Complex.
|Woman of Kingsmead Quarry (Wessex Archaeology)|
I'll post the abstract and make a few observations below:
The Bell Beaker Complex (BBC) was the first widely distributed archaeological phenomenon of western Europe, arising after 2800 BCE probably in Iberia and spreading to the north and east before disappearing at the latest by 1800 BCE. An open question is the extent to which the cultural elements associated with the BBC spread through movement of ideas or people. We present new genome-wide DNA data from 196 Neolithic and Bronze Age Europeans – the largest report of genome-wide data in a single study to date – and merge it with published data to form a dataset with 109 BBC individuals that provides a genomic characterization of the BBC across its geographic and temporal range. In contrast to people of the Corded Ware Complex who were partly contemporaries of the BBC in central and eastern Europe and who brought steppe ancestry into central Europe through mass migration and replacement of local populations, we show that the initial spread of the BBC into central Europe from the Iberian Peninsula was not mediated by a large-scale migration but rather through communication of ideas. However, the further spread of the BBC beyond central Europe did involve mass movement of people. Focusing on Britain, which includes 81 of our new samples in a time transect from 3900-1300 BCE, we show that the arrival of the BBC around 2400 BCE was mediated by migration from the continent: British individuals associated with Beakers are genetically indistinguishable from continental individuals associated with the same material culture and genetically nearly completely discontinuous with the previously resident population. Such discontinuity persists through to samples from the Bronze Age, documenting a demographic turnover at the onset of the Bronze Age that was crucial to understand the formation of the present-day British gene pool. The arrival of the BBC in Britain can thus be viewed as the western continuation of the massive movement of people that brought the Corded Ware Complex and steppe ancestry into central Europe a few hundred years before.
- "Nearly completely discontinuous" population break in Britain. Not a lot of room for interpretation. One of the paradoxes of the Early Bronze Age is the relative lack of evident violence compared to the Middle Neolithic and subsequent Bronze Age cultures. Despite the Beaker warrior gear and intrusive settlements, often Beakers seem to live in close proximity with other peoples and borrow from their cultures. My hunch is that a great deal of social downward pressure has sculpted the European genome since the Bronze Age, however the speed of this 'turnover' in the EBA does make you wonder.
- 'Ideas from Iberia'. Totally possible, but what were we expecting to see, a load of MN Iberian in Germany? What percentage of the Iberian population considered themselves ethnic Bell Beakers? And why does this strange and expansive culture appear in 2800 B.C. in certain Iberian places and not others? Coincidence? I think a fair position is Volker Heyd's latest paper.
- British Beakers are indistinguishable from German Beakers - mostly expected.
- Maybe I'm being a lawyer here, but "western continuation of the massive movement of people" doesn't say Corded Ware, unless they're sitting on a stack of L51 Protruding Foot Beakers. I also can't tell if they propose that the Beaker 'stuff' was a leading edge or a trailing edge on a wave that brought the Corded Ware Culture into Europe, or if it already existed in Eastern or Southeastern Europe.