February 23, 2011

Craniometrics confirms that Eastern and NE European Neolithic was made by aborigins, not immigrants

On the contrary the same skull-measuring method suggests that there was at least partial replacement in the Balcans and Central Europe, where other archaeological and archaeogenetic evidence also supports such population replacement.

No information is provided for the Cardium Pottery area from Bosnia to Portugal but, considering the archaeological and genetic evidence I'd bet a lot that there was only localized population replacement as well, specially as one moves westwards. Also no information is provided for Atlantic Europe but again I daresay that there is a strong case for demographic continuity here as well. 


The results show that while the initial transition to agriculture in central Europe was the result of migrating farmers from the Near-East and Anatolia, agricultural practices were adopted by indigenous hunter-gatherer populations in outlying regions of Europe. Therefore, instead of employing two competing and mutually exclusive models of biological versus cultural diffusion, a mosaic model of both biological and cultural diffusion is a more appropriate model for this demographic change across Europe as a whole.

Totally agree with this last part. I always found totally annoying that results from Germany and Poland would have to be extrapolated to the whole of Europe when the cultural dynamics were so different in the various regions and periods. This underlines a basic lack of multidisciplinary education on the part of researchers, specially some quite pretentious geneticists.

The paper is authored by Irish researchers Ron Pinhasi and Noreen von Cramon-Taubadel and will be published soon at PNAS.


Open issues:

Where did the colonists originate? It is easy, I understand to detect changes in local population composition, but novely does not necessarily imply direct arrival from the Fertile Crescent. Actually a more nearby origin is likely instead even if there is a chain reaction of sorts. 

What happened to them after that? One thing we have learned from ancient DNA research is that there was demic replacement in Central Europe most probably with Neolithic but also that there must have been another population shift some time after it. We do not see anything like modern mtDNA pools in the area before the Urnfield Culture (late Bronze Age). What does this mean? Did proto-Celts or whoever genocided not just the Neolithic farmers but also the early Indoeuropeans who had vanquished them first? Why do these people show a type of genetic pool apparently once common in SW Europe (high mtDNA H particularly)? 

Complex stuff that I do not dare to answer, specially because the evidence is not yet comprehensive enough.


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Update (Feb 24):

The paper is already up and freely available (thanks to Natsuya for the tip):



Interestingly the Natufian Mesolithic and the Central European Epipaleolithic ("Mesolithic") samples are totally off the chart, however all other European Epipaleolithic samples, from West and East are within the box of mainstream Westerness by all measures.

However this main group of cranial homogeneity has two clear subsets: one of Anatolian and apparent Neolithic affinities and another that includes all other European Epipaleolithic samples, as well as East European Neolithic ones. Pretty much settling the issue of the origin of Eastern European Neolithic cultures: local development based on occasional contacts, something that was already quite obvious based on archaeology as well (continuity of extended burials with ochre, rustic pottery unrelated to that of West Asian or Central European cultures, high importance of hunt until late dates).

Sadly no data is provided for any West European Neolithic, not even Mediterranean Neolithic with the rather unrepresentative exception of a Chalcolithic Sardinian sample. In this aspect this paper is no help at all.

Following the rather consistent affinities, some observations can be made:


Pan-European Epipaleolithic archetype

Fig. 3, click to expand
Among hunter-gatherers (and Eastern European Neolithics), other than the outliers from Swabia, the main standard is one including SW Europeans (Portugal, West France), a Serbian sample from Vlasac and one of the two Dniepr-Don samples (the one from the Don basin). So we can well talk of a very much homogeneous pan-European type for which the oversampled East Europeans are rather an exception, outliers, yet closer than all Anatolio-Balcano-Danubian-Danish Neolithic peoples.


Two demic flows from highland West Asia are apparent

Based on the rather consistent groupings of Neolithic peoples in the Central European strip, I think that it can well be argued that
  1. Most danubians (LBK) appear to be directly related to Thessalian Neolithic (Nea Nikomedia) and this one to South Anatolian neolithic (Çatalhöyuk).
  2. Eastern Linear Pottery (AVK, Tisza basin) peoples seem to relate best to SE Balcan Neolithic peoples (probably well represented by the Gumelnita Chalcolithic site) and Pre-Pottery Neolithic B of the Upper Euphrates.
  3. Some peripheral groups seem rather distinct and may suggest admixture with natives.
  4. The Körös group is consistently similar to Danish Neolithic peoples of TRBK (Funnelbeaker culture) and this set falls quite apart from the other Neolithic populations in the ME tree, while it falls outside the mains Euro-Anatolian set in the NJ tree. This would be probably best explained if this Hungary-Denmark affinity pre-dates Neolithic. However the only local Paleolithic sample (Vlasac in Serbia) clusters elsewhere, so maybe it means a mixed population after all. In any case I do not think anyone can argue that Körös-TRBK is a purely immigrant population on light of this data.

I tried to visually represent these notions over the map in fig. 1:

My visual interpretation of the affinities revealed in the paper

The solid join-the-dots blue and green lines represent most homogeneous Neolithic subclusters of apparent West Asian origin. The nearby dotted areas suggest hybrid populations at the "margins" of this Neolitic demic expansion (yet in some cases such as Körös or Lengyel, they are rather in the middle of all, not truly peripheral). 

The dashed purple line of course represents the area of aboriginal Neolithic of Eastern Europe, while the dotted purple line around Denmark suggests a highly native but admixed population in that area. I failed to represent the Denmark-Körös connection however.

I also failed to represent the grouping of Lengyel, Michelsberger, LBK West, Blicze Zlote and Chalcolthic Sardinia, whose meaning I fail to comprehend (except that they are probably all admixed Anatolian-European Aboriginal peoples).

31 comments:

  1. This study is welcomed because it looks at the situation open-minded and not just from past stereotypes. Clearly, fringe agriculturalists were largely local people, because otherwise you can't explain the DNA make-up after Danubian collapse. So far, so good.

    On the other hand, this paper again completely ignores the hiatus in the Balkans, which (i) elevated local Carpathian contribution in all of Central Europe, and (ii) limited gene flow from Anatolia to at most 20% in all of Europe outside the Mediterranean.

    The above is consistent with both mtDNA findings and autosomal DNA (that places today's central Germans extremely close to Hungarians).

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  2. By "the hiatus in the Balkans", what do you mean? The transition from Starcevo-Köros-Cris to Linear Pottery culture in Hungary/Slovakia? Or what?

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  3. The full paper:
    http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2011/02/17/rspb.2010.2678.full

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  4. "No information is provided for the Cardium Pottery area from Bosnia to Portugal. . . . Also no information is provided for Atlantic Europe[.]"

    This was my impression as well, and I'm glad to see someone else noting this point.

    The article's argument that the Neolithic was demic up to a point and then a matter of cultural borrowing beyond that border certainly seems plausible.

    One of the important puzzles of the genetic picture is that the population genetic hallmarks of the Indo-Europeans don't look particularly much like Central Europeans or LBK ancient DNA. Yet, the entire Proto-Indo-European hypothesis rests squarely on a shared Indo-European agricultural vocabulary. How could this be true if farming was spread to these areas, which include the most strongly supported possible Proto-Indo-European homelands, demically?

    But, this isn't a puzzle if the area that includes the Proto-Indo-European homeland received agriculture culturally from neighbors whose demic expansion replaced hunter-gatherers in adjacent areas.

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  5. "The article's argument that the Neolithic was demic up to a point and then a matter of cultural borrowing beyond that border certainly seems plausible".

    I thought that had become generally accepted, but perhaps not.

    "Yet, the entire Proto-Indo-European hypothesis rests squarely on a shared Indo-European agricultural vocabulary. How could this be true if farming was spread to these areas, which include the most strongly supported possible Proto-Indo-European homelands, demically?"

    To me that suggests that farming was introduced to Europe before the Indo-European language entered. And the language spread largely without, or with a very minor, a corresponding genetic spread.

    "But, this isn't a puzzle if the area that includes the Proto-Indo-European homeland received agriculture culturally from neighbors whose demic expansion replaced hunter-gatherers in adjacent areas".

    Makes sense. Especially in relation to the Hurrian/Indo-European paper. Hurrian developed south and around the Caucasus, and Indo-European to the north of the Caucasus.

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  6. Thanks, Natsuya. It will allow me to publish an update.

    Andrew: there is (I realize now) data from Atlantic European "Mesolithic" (Epipaleolithic) but nothing from Neolithic.

    There is data however for Chalcolithic Sardinia suggestive of at least some admixture. But Sardinia was probably no or just weakly populated before Neolithic colonization and shows strong genetic peculiarities of its own, so it is not really representative of the Cardium Pottery area. For whatever it is worth, it rather suggests low level admixture even in one such strongly colonized area such as Sardinia.

    There is also quite confusing data on Danish Neolithic (TRBK, Funnelbeaker culture), which is colored as if it was part of the "Neolithic demography" but in fact sits quite outside its parameters specially in the NJ but also in the "minimum evolution" tree. The reason to include them with "Neolithic" peoples may be that they cluster with the Körös sample but that only suggests that Körös is highly anomalous in a supposedly demic replacement pattern, because it does not cluster well with the other Neolithic groups (except Danish TRBK).

    Also the Central European "Mesolithic" sample (from Swabia) is totally off the picture, being really an outgroup, almost as much as Natufians. Epipaleolithic Europeans and Neolithic Anatolians/Europeans are much closer among them than this quite curious Central European "Mesolithic" outlier. Only Natufians are more distant.

    This also casts doubt about the representativity of this sample's ancient mtDNA (all U5) for Europe in general.

    "... the entire Proto-Indo-European hypothesis rests squarely on a shared Indo-European agricultural vocabulary".

    That is not correct. Indoeuropean language family is based on a huge amount of cognates through the whoe dictionary, as well as gramatical and other consistencies. There is few vocabulary shared by IEs as far as I can tell. Simply compare: English/Spanish: wheat/trigo, rye/centeno, barley/cebada, pulse/guisante, cow/vaca, sheep/oveja, goat/cabra, etc. Based on agricultural terms only Spanish and English are not related at all. But when it comes to other words they clearly are: is/es, are/eres, I/yo, thou/tú, run/correr, catch/coger, red/rojo and a long etc. (much more clear if you go to proto-Germanic and Latin, of course, I'm just being simplistic here).

    "... these areas, which include the most strongly supported possible Proto-Indo-European homelands, demically?"

    There's no single analysis of the Indo-European urheimat of the Samara Valley in this study. The Eastern European samples come from the Baltic (most) and the Dniepr-Don area, which is not the true IE homeland but a secondary conquered area.

    It is possible that PIEs should be included in this generic Eastern IE aboriginal continuity pattern but in any case more research is needed specifically in the Samara basin, where archaeological seemingly stopped after reaching some levels (c. 5500 BCE) but without touching virgin ground. In addition genetic and other research on this PIE people will no doubt be most interesting to know about. Yet with IEs as well, I am reluctant to accept any scenario of generalized demic replacement and instead I tend to think in terms in which most populations were simply absorbed.

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  7. Entry updated.

    Also erratum for my earlier comment: where I said:

    "There is few vocabulary shared by IEs as far as I can tell",

    ... should read:

    "There is few agricultural vocabulary shared by IEs as far as I can tell".

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  8. "By "the hiatus in the Balkans", what do you mean? The transition from Starcevo-Köros-Cris to Linear Pottery culture in Hungary/Slovakia?"

    Yes; if you take 6,400 to 6,200 BCE for the earliest Starcevo-Köros-Cris and 5,600 for the earliest LBK, that is 600 to 800 years. There are of course many reasons for this, but several cultural changes (wooden LBK longhouses, import of stone tools from specialists in the mountains, etc.) to me point in the direction that there was likely mixing with the local population and an adoption of agriculture by the local population. There are several details that seem to show some sort of continuity of culture and technologies originating from the local people (many of whom had fixed settlements at this point) rather than the newly arrived.

    At any rate I need to read the paper carefully to see if they properly excluded convergent changes in morphology simply due to the vastly different food sources of the agriculturalists.

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  9. "... to see if they properly excluded convergent changes in morphology simply due to the vastly different food sources of the agriculturalists".

    Surely not. The very premise of craniometrics and athropometry overall is that all measures are inheritable and only inheritable, hence phenotype is a proxy of genetics.

    However they are at least partly wrong as many studies have shown once and again. There is almost without doubt a epigenetic or otherwise environmental element, so these studies should always be taken with precaution and their conclusions accepted only if they are coincident with other data.

    "Yes; if you take 6,400 to 6,200 BCE for the earliest Starcevo-Köros-Cris and 5,600 for the earliest LBK, that is 600 to 800 years".

    Ah, you meant in time, not just in cultural forms.

    Naturally the main reason for that delay is the presence of "hostile" foragers at the Middle Danub, probably in large numbers, and also climatic barriers. Serbia and Macedonia are already quite cold (colder in Winter that I have experienced anywhere else personally) but further north it is also humid. One of the adaptations of NW LBK peoples was the construction of homes, often isolated, whose single-inclination roofs, reaching to the ground, were always oriented to the NW, from where the dominant and wet winds come to Atlantic Europe almost invariably, a sign of the hardiness of the environment for a type of economy of Mediterranean and almost semidesertic origins.

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  10. But the point is that the locals had started to live in permanent and semi-permanent fishing villages along rivers and lakes before the agriculturalists arrived.

    So, not only did they have to face foragers that made a living on the plains (that for little-understood reasons didn't seem to stop agriculturalists anywhere), but they had to confront the fact that the area was already occupied by a settled population with a sophisticated culture and a stable, high-protein diet.

    I am convinced that further progress needed collaboration between these peoples and their combined expertise.

    One of the best examples is Lepenski Vir on the Danube, which started before Starcevo-Köros-Cris and (what a coincidence!) ended with LBK.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lepenski_Vir

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  11. Lepenski Vir is not in Hungary but further South: in Serbia and Rumania, in the mountain area known as the Iron Gates, the border between the sub-Carpathian (or Hungarian) plain and Wallachia.

    Is an intriguing culture with, AFAIK, closest craniometric affinities to Ukranians, but it sits in the middle of what would later be the Starcevo-Körös-Cris culture, rather than where the Linear Pottery would appear, which is much further north, at the Hungarian-Slovak border, an Epimagdalenian area AFAIK.

    I do not say that the people of Lepenski Vir would not have been absorbed by incoming farmers but they were in any case a much more localized phenomenon than the vastness of Epimagdalenian peoples spanning from the Atlantic to North and West Hungary. It is Epimagdalenian peoples who I usually have in mind when considering the genesis of Linear Pottery in North Hungary. Of course I may be wrong in this: this paper at least is not clearly supportive of such demic transition between the Balcanic and the Central European Neolithic, instead it seems to suggest that in both cases the core settlers were arrivals from Anatolia (or South Balcans) but that diverse secondary populations do look heavily mixed or at least quite distinct from those genuine migrants.

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  12. "in the mountain area known as the Iron Gates, the border between the sub-Carpathian (or Hungarian) plain and Wallachia"

    In other words, at the very entrance to the Carpathian Basin at the Danube.

    And no - they were not an isolated phenomenon - by ~7,000 BCE, their type of culture and mode of settled living with advanced village social life was the norm along rivers and lakes in much of central Europe.

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  13. "And no - they were not an isolated phenomenon - by ~7,000 BCE, their type of culture and mode of settled living with advanced village social life was the norm along rivers and lakes in much of central Europe".

    I am not aware of this. I have always read about Lepenski Vir as a very localized culture without any clear correlate. So please, document your claim.

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  14. Also the access of the main Balcanic Neolithic wave to the Carpathian basin was almost without doubt via Serbia and Vojvodina, further west.

    The penetration route (excepting the Karanovo sequence in Bulgaria/Wallachia/Thrace) was via the Vardar into Macedonia Republic (and Highland Albania) and then to Serbia and then to the Tisza basin. They surely ignored the Lepenski Vir group if they were ever contemporary (I used to think it was already finished by the time of Starcevo, not being really contemporary, as you have claimed).

    This route is fundamentally the same as the pattern of E1b-V13, so we can easily conclude that this Y-DNA lineage spread with Balcanic Neolithic (and then also with Danubian Neolithic to a lesser extent). Other lineages such as J2, G2a and probably also I2a1 can be associated to the Neolithic flows but the V13 case is totally coincident with that of Balcanic Neolithic and its Central European offshoots.

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  15. "low level admixture even in one such strongly colonized area such as Sardinia"

    IRRC, Sardinia is an outlier in terms of apparently representing more continuity genetically than the vast majority of Europe, despite its "crossroads" location.

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  16. "apparently representing more continuity genetically than the vast majority of Europe"...

    What do you mean?

    Sardinia is an outlier indeed but it cannot represent continuity when it was not populated before Neolithic (unless the Neolithic peoples which colonized it were "continuous" somewhere else, probably in Italy).

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  17. Out of curiosity, is anyone know if the individual of the Körös culture that was hg mtDNA N9a was part of the study?

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  18. [I can't edit, so excuse the double post]

    Did you all notice that the mesolithic samples seem to be "shifted" to the right of the plot? And they generally (5 out of 6) reflect the map of Europe, with the western sites at the left and the eastern at the right of the plot. Eurologist made the observation that the transition from hunter-gatherer to agriculture may have seriously altered the skull dimensions. Annie Mouse also made a similar observation. One well known Polish poster on genetics forums likes to observe that Poles went from brachycephalic to dolichocephalic just in the last century, thanks to a change in diet, obviously. Could PC1 be in fact reflecting agricultural physonomy (sic?) versus hunter-gatherer physonomy? Like I noted, the hunter-gatherer samples in red are all piled up on the right side of the plot, and furthermore are internally oriented, with western populations towards the left and viceversa. Dienekes, probably in an attempt to play down the Neolithic purple samples that are also found in the right side of the plot, noted, correctly I suppose, that many of these are "forest" Neolithic, as stated in the study itself, meaning that they were still to a large degree hunter-gatherer, only they had adopted other cultural prcatices typical of agricultural people. Thus, this could explain why they would still retain a hunter-gatherer cranium despite being Neolithic. Annie Mouse also pointed out that the study says that modern Europeans are not similar to the Neolithic German population (more or less, I'm misquoting her).

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  19. @Waggg: N9a is an East Asian lineage. The dots do not represent individuals but groups, they studied >500 skulls, grouped in some 30 space-time units that they call OTUs (operative whatever).

    @Argiedude:

    "[forced to get new Id]" Uh? Is Blogger again messing around?

    "[I can't edit, so excuse the double post]"

    Sure, no big deal. I only really hate it when comments are publicity spam, or when people go on PA rampage, or getting nazi-style junk, which is about the same.

    ...

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  20. "And [these Epipaleolithic samples] generally (5 out of 6) reflect the map of Europe, with the western sites at the left and the eastern at the right of the plot".

    Not for me: what I see is a "map" rotated 90 degrees clockwise for the most homogeneous group (Por-Fr-Ser-Don) and then the rest (mostly populations of the far NE) are "outliers", probably because of founder effects and the "Lappoid" factor.

    However the really intriguing case is that of Swabian Epipaleolithic peoples ("Central European Mesolithic"), which are totally off the table in the NJ and ME trees, tending towards Natufian in the PC graph.

    "One well known Polish poster on genetics forums likes to observe that Poles went from brachycephalic to dolichocephalic just in the last century, thanks to a change in diet, obviously. Could PC1 be in fact reflecting agricultural physonomy (sic?) versus hunter-gatherer physonomy?"

    It could be in principle, specially as Eastern European Neolithics ate a lot of meat by comparison and kept hunt high in their economy for a long time. I'm surprised that Polako takes such an anti-craniometric stand but I must agree: we cannot exclude environmental factors, specially when the differences/similitudes are not consistent along all factors.

    However the extreme affinity of some European Neolithic populations with others from West Asia, particularly LBK and Greek Neolithic with Çatalhöyuk, is strongly suggestive of immigration from Turkey (or Greece, as we have no idea how were Greek Epipaleolithic peoples in the craniometric aspect).

    "Could PC1 be in fact reflecting agricultural physonomy (sic?) versus hunter-gatherer physonomy?"

    It could but it more likely reflects a genuine Anatolia vs. Europe dichotomy, at least largely. I understand that these graphs are the product of many variables and not just the dolico/brachi dichotomy, hence we should not expect strong affinity only based on diet.

    On the other hand where affinity is not so marked it can indeed reflect dietary or otherwise epigenetic aspects. But let's not forget that the Danish TRBK Neolithic was not, AFAIK, much more grain-oriented that was that of East Europe (i.e. fishing and cattle/dairing should have been very much important there too).

    The caution warning should be there (and I'll probably add it to the entry as an update) but I do not think it does invalidate the study, specially where affinities are clearly very very strong, as already mentioned.

    "Dienekes (...) noted (...) that many of these are "forest" Neolithic"...

    Yes but Dniepr-Don is not much more "forest Neolithic" than, say Michelsberg or Danish Neolithic. TRBK, to which Michelsberg is possibly related (as well as to LBK), is not precisely defined by any strong cerealistic preeminence, I understand, while Dniepr-Don does indeed evolve towards a growing cerealistic dietary base as time passes (it is a very long-lasting culture).

    "Annie Mouse also pointed out that the study says that modern Europeans are not similar to the Neolithic German population"...

    Is that in the paper? I am not surprised at all about that. Modern mesocephalic (Nordo-Med, specially "Keltid" probably) Europeans are usually almost identical to Magdalenian remains as far as I can tell, including some very annoying "bugs" such as lack of room for the wisdom tooth often.

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  21. Maju : "N9a is an East Asian lineage"

    Yes I know that.

    http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0015214

    "The early presence of mtDNA lineages of eastern Asian ancestry in Europe is further confirmed by the discovery of a N9a haplotype in a Neolithic skeleton from the Szarvas site, located in southeastern Hungary that belonged to the Körös Culture, which appeared in eastern Hungary in the early 8th millennium B.P."

    Maju : "The dots do not represent individuals but groups, they studied >500 skulls, grouped in some 30 space-time units that they call OTUs (operative whatever)"

    Yes, and by curiosity I wanted to know if this individual was in the lot (for Körös). But it's not really important.

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  22. Ah, thank you for the clarification, Waggg. It seems to suggest that the relations with East Asia (via the steppe, I guess) are very very old, even if minor.

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  23. "The early presence of mtDNA lineages of eastern Asian ancestry in Europe is further confirmed by the discovery of a N9a haplotype in a Neolithic skeleton from the Szarvas site, located in southeastern Hungary that belonged to the Körös Culture, which appeared in eastern Hungary in the early 8th millennium B.P."

    Well. That's really interesting. I've often wondered if there was some connection between Japan and the West Eurasian Neolithic. Pottery is some thousands of years older in Japan than anywhere else. So was it invented independently? Or did it spread west from Japan? The presence of N9 suggests contact.

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  24. Actually now the oldest pottery seems from South China.

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  25. "I have always read about Lepenski Vir as a very localized culture without any clear correlate. So please, document your claim."

    Lepenski Vir is one site out of many on the Danube in that region - all of them very similar, and all of them showing an interesting transition to the adoption of agriculture that does not indicate being overrun by the newcomers. See also this presentation about contacts and change at the Danube south of the Carpathian plains:
    http://www.nbu.bg/PUBLIC/IMAGES/File/departamenti/arheologiq/Microsoft%20PowerPoint%20-%20Sofia26-01-09.pdf

    In Switzerland and SW Germany there is a marked transition to a very distinct late Mesolithic at around 6,700 BCE - during about the same time frame.

    In Northern Europe, late Mesolithic also occurred in connection with permanent settlements before arrival or adoption of agriculture.

    At the fringe (SW Germany, Switzerland, areas west of the Rhine, northern Germany and Scandinavia, Baltic region, parts of Poland) it appears that late Mesolithic people had adopted a settled life style, and this appears to be almost a corollary to the adoption of agriculture by local people. By comparison, the Danube region at entry to the Carpathian plains seems to have undergone a similar transition.

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  26. Here are some details and links for my above statements:

    Wooden houses or large huts supported by wooden beams in late mesolithic Europe (and other regions, like Siberia and Alaska - see http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110224145551.htm) are not unusual, but appear to have been the norm. They are sometimes thought to have been seasonally occupied, and in some region that was a must to ensure sustenance. However, the presence of staple food items such as nuts, oysters, mussles and emphasis on fishing, as well as cemeteries, suggest that - where possible - these were occupied year-round or close to year round. Also, they were often repaired and occupied for hundreds of years.

    Preservation of sites is much better in northern Europe than in Central Europe. One other region that has provided substantial information is Switzerland and surrounding southern Germany - where there is a very clear-cut transition to a late mesolithic at around 6,700 BCE, when settlements become more permanent around lakes.

    There are many European sites that show evidence of permanent or semi-permanent mesolithic settlement - using wooden houses. There is strong indication that permanent mesolithic settlements are correlated with an indigenous adoption of agriculture - as one would expect.

    UK - Star Carr house, wooden roundhouse occupied for 200-500 years; 8,500 BCE
    (near lake, wooden platform, arrow heads, domesticated dog)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Carr_house

    UK - Howick house, wooden roundhouse occupied for 100 years; 7,600 BCE
    (coastal position, use of nuts, likely permanent settlement)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howick_house

    Sweden - Tågerup large wooden roundhouses and a longhouse
    (part of Ertebølle, see below)

    Other permanent or semi-permanent settlements:

    Estonia - Pulli settlement, 9,000 BCE
    (near river mouth into Baltic, arrowheads, fishhooks, domesticated dog)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulli_settlement


    Fringe cultures in which agriculture arose indigenously within local settlements with rich year-round food sources near wetlands:

    Netherlands - Swifterbant ; starting 5,600 - 5,300 BCE (near riverbanks)

    Southern Scandinavia, Northern Germany - Ertebølle, brush and light wood houses, cemeteries, year-round occupation, fish fences, dogs; starting ~5,800 to 5,300 BCE (oysters, mussels, snails, fish, whales, seals)

    Switzerland - 6700–5500 BCE
    contacts with Mediterranean via Rhone river, similar to SW German sites, close relationship to later neolithic La Hoguette (rather than LBK)
    Including the possibility of Mesolithic farming:
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=MImg&_imagekey=B6VBC-4NHD9C5-2-K&_cdi=5923&_user=4420&_pii=S0277379107000601&_origin=search&_coverDate=05%2F31%2F2007&_sk=999739990&view=c&wchp=dGLbVlb-zSkzS&md5=c7106b5a7f7a3370df0fd6e5e5e0531a&ie=/sdarticle.pdf

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  27. "At the fringe (SW Germany, Switzerland, areas west of the Rhine, northern Germany and Scandinavia, Baltic region, parts of Poland) it appears that late Mesolithic people had adopted a settled life style, and this appears to be almost a corollary to the adoption of agriculture by local people. By comparison, the Danube region at entry to the Carpathian plains seems to have undergone a similar transition".

    Alright. This and the materials you provide are quite interesting but it is not the same as what you said before:

    "... they were not an isolated phenomenon - by ~7,000 BCE, their type of culture and mode of settled living with advanced village social life was the norm along rivers and lakes in much of central Europe".

    My point was and is that there is no Lepenski Vir culture with their plastered floored trapezoidal plant homes and unique "piscine" art anywhere else in Europe or Earth, AFAIK.

    Now if some Epipaleolithic populations with fisher lifestyle developed independently sedentary or quasi-sedentary lifestyles, as we can also find elsewhere in the World (Ainu, NW American tribes...) that's another story: one thing is how a culture manifests in the practical matters and another thing is where this culture's roots lay. And this last is best understood by looking at the impractical stuff like artwork and other symbolic stuff, rather than coincidences of lifestyle's praxis. Nothing like Lepenski Vir is known outside the Iron Gates.

    Anyhow what you say makes some sense and is surely an important point but from that to establishing some sort of connection between the Iron Gates and NE England... sorry but nope.

    The latest link, I cannot access because it's PPV. It looks a most interesting paper (specially as not much has been explained about La Hoguette, the other Central European Neolithic with strong affinities with Cardium), so I would not mind if you sent me a copy (thanks in advance).

    Do you know anything about a news item I recall from years ago in which remnants of milk were said to have been found in some subalpine (Swiss or Austrian) Epipaleolithic group's cups or skins. I can't recall many details but was suggestive of some sort of domesticates (horse?) before Neolithic arrived. Alternatively it could also be human milk. I lost track of that and never read about it again, that's why I ask.

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  28. "My point was and is that there is no Lepenski Vir culture with their plastered floored trapezoidal plant homes and unique "piscine" art anywhere else in Europe or Earth, AFAIK."

    Yeah - we probably just thought of and talked about different things.

    No, I don't recall any Epipaleolithic or Mesolithic milk story.

    In the end, what I tried to express was this:

    - some areas of Europe have better Mesolithic preservation and thus are more easily studied, but that does not mean other areas of Central Europe that have similar living conditions did not have the same cultural advances

    - there seems to be a late mesolithic phase across Europe that - in areas that support such sustenance - made people settle in permanent villages with dedicated cementaries, using mostly wooden houses that were repaired/occupied for decades, if not centuries

    - there is evidence that whenever or where this happened, neolithic agriculture was adopted as a local phenomenon

    - there are many parallels to the sub-Carpeathian plains Danube region - so, just based on these parallels alone, one should be open-minded about a local adoption of agriculter there, as well!

    - in conclusion, this means that the odd assemblage of mtDNA (or y-DNS, or autosomal) found in LBK could be a simple extension of the local happenstance in the Carpathian basin, with just a small admixture from the southern Balkans - i.e., a small fraction that is mostly Anatolian.

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  29. Yes, obviously we were talking/understanding different concepts.

    I have the impression that already in many places Paleolithic people were already semi-sedentary. At least that seems to be the case in the Cantabrian sub-region, where, while some caves look like seasonal homes, others look quite permanent instead. Also the exploited areas were quite circumscribed, the equivalent to a modern district or two.

    The idea of Paleolithic (or Epipaleolithic) peoples being highly nomadic may not be correct to begin with. It may have depended a lot on ecosystems and economies. As I said there's also a lot of examples of specially fishing-based affluent sedentary communities in many places.

    But I am not sure if this semi-sedentarism helped or not adopting agriculture. Some of the examples you provided are actually in such remote northern areas that it's unlikely that they became agricultural until very late. On the other hand we know of a lot of areas in the Mediterranean where all the evidence points to partial aculturation but where we do not know of semi-sedentarism before that happened (at least I do not know).

    The evidence is so patchy...

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  30. "Actually now the oldest pottery seems from South China".

    Thanks. I did actually read that when you first posted it, but promptly forgot it. Still, we have the possibility of Neolithic contact from the East to the Middle East.

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