September 21, 2012

Epipaleolithic and Neolithic burials found in Morocco

Just a short heads up notice because nothing seems to have been formally published or even radiometrically dated yet but Press News Africa reports (h/t Pileta) that two human burials have been found some 300 km East of Rabat, in the village of El Ksir (near Aïn Tajoudate, El Hajeb province). 

As I say, the two skeletons are yet to be dated with C14 but from the stratigraphic context it is estimated that they are from 6-8 Ka. ago one and from 8-14 Ka ago the other. Both are male and seemingly buried in flexed position inside oval tombs with the most recent one having a scraper as only grave good, while the other had a limestone slab on top of the tomb.


La Braña connection?

It would be extremely interesting if DNA is extracted and analyzed from them, of course. But specially what I have in mind right now is the possible relationship between their burial style and that of La Braña (León, NW Iberia), which, as I mentioned back in the day, is not typical from local Paleolithic, rising more questions than answers.

As you may know, Western Iberia and very specially some mountain areas of León, show unusually high levels of North African genetics (always minor but clearly significant for Europe). And, as you may remember, the La Braña composite appeared to show a consistent 10% of African admxiture (either East African, or Khoisan or just generic African, all which can be hypothetically consistent with untested North African admixture).

If I'm correct on this, it would imply that the North African minor affinity that characterizes Western Iberia and specially the mountain areas of León would be as old as the Epipaleolithic, maybe even older, supporting my old hypothesis of genetic exchange across Gibraltar Strait occurring mostly in the period of the Oranian (Iberomaurusian) genesis and the cultural backflow associated to the introduction of winged and tanged points into the Southern Iberian Gravetto-Sloutrean, which seems to be behind the Solutrean of Asturias as well. 

Just a possibility at the moment but a thread that I deem interesting to follow in the archaeo-genetic labyrinth. 

5 comments:

  1. Hmmmmm

    La brana > described with "African" (and east Asian) > non paleolithic burial style > similar burial position to old moroccans, so brana is moroccan.

    I think you're stretching here.

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    1. I did not say that "Braña is Moroccan", just that there might be a connection worth exploring.

      I also said back in the day that the La Braña burials are anomalous for the region, even speculating that they might be earliest Neolithic instead of latest Epipaleolithic - because Neolithic peoples often used flexed burials, while Paleolithic Europeans and some Neolithics of possible Paleolithic descent used burial in extended position.

      If it's not, I'm ok. But we need to explain somehow the origin of the North African element in Western Iberia. IMO, either it is Paleolithic (Solutrean-related) or Neolithic, there's hardly other window for such a widespread founder effect and also the archaeology only seems to be there in those two moments, unless you tell me something I do not know.

      Delete
    2. Also, only one of three comparisons produced "Asian" results, incidentally with the zombie-set not designed for West Eurasia originally but for South Asia instead. Revising the data now I see that Dienekes found:

      · for K7: 9.3% African and 90.7% Atlantic-Baltic
      · for K12: 45% Atlantic-Med, 41.6% North European, 10.3% East African, 1% Sub-Saharan
      · for HarappaWorld DIY: 0.72% Pygmy, 6.31% San, 27.42% Mediterranean, 1.63% Papuan, 1.33% NE Asian, 6.75% Siberian, 55.41% NE Euro

      All them give African affinities but only one "finds" East Asian (mostly Siberian) ones. There's mystery in that but the compass points to Africa rather than Asia.

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  2. Hi Maju

    if they could extract some genetics from the Taforalt remains, I will bet that they will find a sizable Paleo African component similar to la Braña's...

    I tend to think that there are two possible sources of the Paleo African component in Europe :
    -Northwest African via Iberia
    -Northeast African via the Balkan

    looking back at Di Gaetano's ADMIXTURE run..we all noticed that the CEU had slightly more Northwest African component than the European average,I was a bit puzzled...since M-81 is rare in Northwest Europe..
    so I thought about the alternative, which was the M-78 lineages in Europe..V-13 looked like the most likely candidate.

    I searched the Egyptian facial types on Flickr,and in no time I found this :

    http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7121/7654788092_102b71a688_b.jpg

    http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6225/6877821188_b5482c0655_b.jpg

    I was convinced that M-78 carriers were no different looking than the M-81 folks ,so I looked at the facial types of people from the Balkan ..to my astonishment certain individuals from Kosova and neighbouring regions (Albania,Macedonia and Southern Serbia)looked Mechtoid/Berids with that pseudo-Asiatic of ours ..
    Serbian model :

    http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4091/5031834253_61a4d8f737_b.jpg

    Svetlana Raznatovic , Serbian

    http://www.novosti.rs/upload/images/2011//08/1708n/spek-ceca.jpg

    Jelena Jankovic

    http://greenobles.com/data_images/jelena-jankovic/jelena-jankovic-01.jpg

    Iskaovic (Bosnia)

    http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4127/5140450369_af95603133_m.jpg

    it can not be Mongoloid , because it is kind of common look in the region ,I think that the Balkanic Neolithic V-13 carriers spread North African genes and traits in Europe more often than the Northwest African M-81..


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    1. Actually Taforalt was studied by Rym Kefi in 2005, although the results are only available in presentation format, at least online ··> www.pasteur.fr/~tekaia/BCGA/TALKS/Rym_Kefi.ppt (direct download from Pasteur Institute). Only HVS-I was considered but the results are strongly suggestive if not 100% accurate.

      "I tend to think that there are two possible sources of the Paleo African component in Europe :
      -Northwest African via Iberia
      -Northeast African via the Balkan"...

      What do you call "Paleo-African"? There is some African genetics but probably not directly related with Khoisan or Pygmies (which are the peoples I imagine when I read that word). And probably both routes are correct anyhow.

      "the CEU had slightly more Northwest African component than the European average,I was a bit puzzled...since M-81 is rare in Northwest Europe.."

      It may be just "noise" but it's also very likely that the autosomal component has arrived to NW Europe via Iberia, in most cases without the related lineages. However there's at least one district in Wales where E-M81 is very frequent. Fancies of founder effects and drift.

      "..to my astonishment certain individuals from Kosova and neighbouring regions (Albania,Macedonia and Southern Serbia)looked Mechtoid/Berids with that pseudo-Asiatic of ours .."

      Your examples actually look to me as having some East Asian affinity, not African.

      "it can not be Mongoloid , because it is kind of common look in the region"

      Not so common but IMO it's an East Asian trend, more related to possible but weak persistences of Eastern phenotype genetics, which are known among other populations in West Eurasia as well.

      However there are Transmediterranean tendencies in phenotype in the Balcans indeed, at least in some Albanians.

      "I think that the Balkanic Neolithic V-13 carriers spread North African genes and traits in Europe more often than the Northwest African M-81.."

      Those should rather carry "Ethiopid" looks rather than specificly "Berber" ones IMO. Of course Ethiopid looks also exist among NW Africans but that's because they are also influenced by E-M78 (the "parent" of E-V13), which IMO is together with J1, the main Capsian or Afroasiatic specific lineage.

      In any case I would not try to "prove" African influences with East Asian looks. Sounds quite inconsistent.

      Delete

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