Thursday, April 25, 2019

Clean-Cut Beakers? (Nortoft, 2017)

Clean-Cut Beakers?  Maybe some, but shaving culture seems to take off more toward its end.

Beards, mustaches, styling and shaving seems to have always been highly varied among European men, even when one fashion dominates.  It's during the Bronze Age that shaving becomes status-centered and archaeologically visible as a specialized tool set. 

This paper  by Mikkel Nortoft examines the IE shaving phenomenon from its Pontic origins using a multi-disciplinary approach:

"Shaving the Warrior: Archaeo-linguistic investigation of Indo-European warrior identity from the Eneolithic to the Bronze Age - prestige razors and ideology" by Mikkel Nortoft

This follows a recent post on male bone hair pins.
MBA razor at Balnalick (see also NOSAS)

The Beaker Culture was old enough to have possibly lived through several iterations of hair and beard styling.  Looking at the age and distribution of bone hair pins, this may well be the case.  There are a number of examples of Beaker razors or flint blades, and it is well possible that Beaker men most often shaved with their knives, as later razors look like tanged knives or Palmela points.  The Balnalick example above is technically MBA, but is in time close to the Beaker period, assuming the knife isn't an heirloom.

Another flint razor at Rudston was was positioned before the face, showing the importance of this object to the occupant.  But overall, assuming daggers weren't also shavers, the evidence for Beakers shaving so far doesn't appear anywhere as close to what you see with Urnfielders and later cultures.  Again, this may a visibility problem, and it may also be that razors had not yet become status symbols despite universally clean-shaven faces.

Rudston beaker (British Museum)

There's another missing piece of evidence and that is graphic representations of the schematic-fixated Beakers.  Well, there's just a few...

I thought this steale at Sion depicts a bearded Beaker, but that may just be too much imagination on my part.  See Here.

I'll be shifting back to Iberia in the next post.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Mean Megalithic Men (Sanchez-Quinto et al, 2019)

This quote from the paper (Sanchez-Quinto et al, 2019):
"Interestingly, we also found a significant farmer-specific genetic affinity between the British Isles Neolithic populations and the Scandinavian populations"
Yeah, about that.  This issue, as I've complained or wondered many times last year, is that many British farmers might have already been shifted towards Southern Scandinavia and its other outpost, the Netherlands, because of the Peterborough FOLK.  Heard it here first.  Whatever the final number, there's no doubt Beakers were storming the beaches of the Isles and pretty much flattened everything in their way, but 93%?  Food vessels?!

The number might go up or down.  No clue, but we'll see.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Ciempozuelo-Bros and Proto-Berber? (Olalde et al, 2019)

Here's more Beakerblog impressions as I work through Olalde et al, 2019, which is the gigantic study looking at the genomic transformation of the Iberian Peninsula.

This post is about the so-called Ciempozuelo-Bros that are popping up with early Iberian Beakers (A term I use jokingly to refer to trace ancestry associated with Africa).  A few outliers specific to Iberia are not so much important for the Bell Beakers generally (other than showing genetic relation with sites such as Ifri d'Amir where the influence on early Continental Beaker ceramic styles are well noted), but it is conversely important for the very ethnogenesis of modern North African Berbers.

In fact, this individual,  I4246  Camino de las Yeseras (San Fernando de Henares, Community of Madrid, Spain) is highly typical of a Moroccan Berber, as you can see by his uni-parental markers:

E1b1b1a and mtDNA haplogroup M1a1b, highly typical of Neolithic pre-Berber sites such as Ifri d'mar.  Could his genetic affinity be mistaken for a Berber?  Apparently so.  If we took a Late Neolithic North African man and crossed him with a Central Spanish Beaker woman, what is the result?  Much of the modern Berber tribes?

But let's look closer at pre-Islamic Berber religion, mitochondrial haplogroup profiles, heritable characteristics (like lactase persistence and blood polarity) other cultural attributes.  The reason why I4246 is important is because much of the North African Beaker pottery is essentially a downgrade of the Central Spanish pottery.  It's out of this milleu that the Berber nation is formed across North Africa, its solar religion and burial practices.  Whereas European Bell Beakers are strictly dominated by R1b-M269 subclades, it would appear that a reverse process happened in Africa (although DF27 in Tunisia and Canary Islands require some explanation).

Fatima Bedredime, 94 by photographer Zohra Bensemra/Reuters (Berber profile via IBD)
In the previous post, "Marauding Mesetans Take Booty", my interpretation of the current data is that Iberia's vast pseudo-steppe plateaus are looking like the vector for not only steppe-related ancestry, but consolidated Bell Beaker genetic ancestry throughout the whole of Iberia.  It's basically Iberian Iron Age proto-history repeating itself previously.  There are the populous, high culture centers in the coastal East, West and South and then cattle country interiors that ascend from obscurity to increasingly fortified and aggressive plains communities.

To be continued....

Friday, April 5, 2019

Marauder Mesetans Take Booty (Olalde et al, 2019)

Welp, in an ironic twist of history, turns out the Castilians destroyed Europe's first castles.  The first castles of Portugal and Southern Spain had one serious design flaw anyway, they all pointed the wrong direction!  I'm being facetious.  That really isn't what the paper says, but we know 1) the genetic outcome in Iberia, 2) genetic data on either side of the Beaker period, 3) and based on profiles of beaker-associated people of this time, Beakers of the interior lands look red-handed in all of this.

I started reading this Olalde 2019 paper yesterday and digging down into the sites and details.  I've got some first impressions but it will take a few posts to sort out.  It's an incredibly big swath of people with a lot of implications, so like Harvard's NW Europe paper, this may take another twenty posts of detailed reading and zooming into the unique burials.

Individuals 1 and 2 of Tumba 4 de Castillejo del Bonete

The once barren innards of Iberia harbored a restless new people that must have been raiding the external civilizations from within.  We see a similar scenario unfold in the Iron Age.  The vast inner interior of Spain is key to all of this.  More coming...

*update 1*

At some point the coastal and riverine pre-castles fell out of fashion.  Some are roasted, but most just kind of go into disrepair.  Mounted warfare may be why.  Raiding threats prior to this time seem to have come from the coasts or along draws and navigable rivers.  These garrisons must have been effective at cutting off these avenues of approach at first, then some unexpected happens.

Now the threat is from the interior.  These aren't seasonal raiding parties.  The threat is constant and local.  Harassment is endless. We can be certain that it is just not Bell Beakers generally, but Marauding Mesetans that are the cause for the disruptions that happened.

Another interesting angle is the relationship between Ciempozuelos and North Africa.  North African beaker pottery is essentially Ciempozuel-bros from what I've seen.

Another interesting thing is how DF27 these people likely are, when they are.  That complicates a complicated story.

*update 2*

Re-defining Ciempozuelos.  (Bueno, Barroso and Balbin-Behrmann, 2017)  Something I'm reading.

Bueno et al, 2017

You'll notice something about Meme Buenos big stroke map here, that is that all of the Bell Beaker zones of Iberia are connected via the Ciempozuelos network, not each other.  Take a good look at it.  Whether its the Tagus or the Duoro, the Ciempozuelos has its hand on all of them, and for people who could move over land quickly, this communicates power.  And a the heart of the Ciempozuelos territory?

Now look at the Olalde paper through this lens.  This is the formation of modern Spain, genetically and culturally.

 *update 2.1*

This map is a template for history to repeat itself in the Iron Age.

*update 3*

Just noticed that commentor FrankN at Eurogenes made an observation about the Castile region's profiles.  Porto-Cogotas and Cogotas I is expected and Cogotas II basically transitions toward Celtic, and while not native, definitely predictable.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Manbun Beakers (Hunter and Woodward)

If you're wondering about the basis for certain interpretations of Beaker clothing and styles, here's the archaeological basis for manbuns as described in "Ritual in Early Bronze Age Grave Goods" by John Hunter and Ann Woodward.

In fact, this book has a wealth of information about the specific arguments for much of the Beaker dress, if you can find full access. 
Re-enactment from Jan Obleci Pra Cloveka
The placement of bone pins near the top or back of heads occurs only with men, but only in the later Beaker period or EBA.  Earlier, these pins appear at the waist, perhaps as a sort of fastener.  So it would almost appear that the fashion evolves a little over time. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Ditchling Beaker Reconstruction (Oscar D. Nilsson)

Below is a forensic reconstruction of a Bell Beaker buried in Brighton, Sussex (Southern England).  It just went on exhibit at a new gallery in Brighton in a collection of ancient British peoples by forensic artist Oscar D. Nilsson.  You can see a few other examples in this story and a local interview [here].

These reconstructions are getting quite sophisticated and they are very desirable for local museums.  As with Ditchling Man, many are informed by DNA, this one tagged (I6774) in the recent 2018 Harvard paper.  Eye color was likely blue, hair blonde and skin color is believed to have been very light.  I6774: R1b1a1a2a1a, H4a1a1a

Ditchling Man via MSN
Obviously it is impossible to catch the character of a dead person, but all of the examples convey 'personalities', which is a nice touch that only a true artist can provide.

Ditchling Beaker (Brighton Museum)
It's with the beginning of the Beaker period that people start looking characteristically British compared to previous periods.  Not too surprising.
Ditchling Man (modified) via MuseumCrush (Richard Moss photographer)

Lisa Fisher has captured some of the old excavation data in "Ceramics and Settlement in Bronze Age Brighton".  I went there trying to find any reference to the 'snail shells' located near his mouth in the highlighted portion below.  If they still exist, I would think the mussel shells are of the aquatic variety, especially being so close to the sea.  Who knows.
From Fig 30 of "Ceramics and Settlement in Bronze Age Brighton" (Lisa Fisher)

If these were indeed terrestrial mussels, then maybe some commenters will find this to be evidence that he was a Vasconic-speaker.

Hahaha.  It's a joke, people.  Yes, a little humor never hurts, especially after today's LSD-based linguistic discussions.

From the Olalde et al, 2018 Supplement:

"Ditchling Road (Brighton, Sussex, England)
Contact: Tom Booth
The Ditchling Road Beaker burial was excavated in 1921 as part of preparations for the eponymous road to the south of Stanmer Park in Brighton, Sussex. It consisted of a flat shallow earthen grave containing the skeleton of a 25-35-year-old male in a flexed position on his left side with his head to the northeast facing southeast. The skeleton was accompanied by barbed flint arrowhead recovered from beneath the skull and a Beaker positioned next to his legs. A quantity of snail shells from a variety of species had been placed in front of its mouth. The skeleton is curated at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery. Ancient DNA data from a sample of the petrous portion of the temporal bone of this individual were included in this study.  I6774/R2315/3: 2287-2044 calBCE (3760±30 BP, SUERC-74755)"