June 27, 2013

Revisiting the demographics of Northern and Central Europe in the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods

Stimulated by the discussion at another entry, yesterday I made a little graph, almost a mnemonic, on the demographics of Northern European Neolithic and Chalcolithic, based on academic data which I discussed back in 2009.

This is the result:


The very simplified graph is nothing but a version of another one, used in 2009 (and reproduced below), which in turn is an annotated and composite version extracted from two different studies (references also below).

For convenience I have marked the millennia marks at the bottom (meaning 5000, 4000, 3000 and 2000 BCE, from left to right) while the unmarked vertical scale ranks from 0 to 100 (marked by the lowest and highest dots, not the frame, which is actually outside of the graph itself). The dots mark population level at any time as proportion of the maximum (100) in discrete intervals rounded up/down to 10 ppts and taken at intervals of 250 years. Notice that I ignored monuments in the case of Britain, only considering the habitation and other productive sites.

Not sure if it will result useful to you but it did help me to visualize the demographics of Northern Europe in these four millennia of surely dramatic population changes. If you don't like this version the more detailed original double graph is below, scroll down.

Something quite obvious is that while Danubian Neolithic first caused an important population expansion, it later declined to quite low population levels, maybe because of climatic cooling and the exhaustion of the lands because of poorly developed agricultural techniques. 

This late Danubian collapse lasted for about a millennium, when (1) Funnelbeaker (TRBK) in Denmark, (2) Megalithism in Britain and Denmark especially (later also in parts of Germany) and (3) Kurgan cultures in Poland (later also in Germany and Denmark) seem to have brought with them very notable demographic expansions.

But decline seems to set on again all around at the end of the Chalcolithic period, much more notably in the continent (in Poland the rate of archaeological findings decays to zero!) than in Britain and especially Denmark. 

And now indeed the original "verbose" graph:



And the sources:


Update (Sep 19): Dienekes mentions today a pay-per-view study by Nicky J. Whitehouse which deals with the same issues and finds similar patterns of apparent early Neolithic expansion and collapse in the case of Ireland. Relevant graph:


Plantago is a leafy weed or herb (depending on your viewpoint) that grows largely in prairies and plowed fields. 
Abstract
A multi-disciplinary study assessing the evidence for agriculture in Neolithic Ireland is presented, examining the timing, extent and nature of settlement and farming. Bayesian analyses of palaeoenvironmental and archaeological 14C data have allowed us to re-examine evidential strands within a strong chronological framework. While the nature and timing of the very beginning of the Neolithic in Ireland is still debated, our results – based on new Bayesian chronologies of plant macro-remains – are consistent with a rapid and abrupt transition to agriculture from c. 3750 cal BC, though there are hints of earlier Neolithic presence at a number of sites. We have emphatically confirmed the start of extensive Neolithic settlement in Ireland with the existence of a distinct ‘house horizon’, dating to 3720-3620 cal BC, lasting for up to a century. Cereals were being consumed at many sites during this period, with emmer wheat dominant, but also barley (naked and hulled), as well as occasional evidence for einkorn wheat, naked wheat and flax. The earliest farmers in Ireland, like farmers elsewhere across NW Europe, were not engaged in shifting cultivation, but practised longer-term fixed-plot agriculture. The association between early agriculture and the Elm Decline seen in many pollen diagrams shows that this latter event was not synchronous across all sites investigated, starting earlier in the north compared with the west, but that there is a strong coincidence with early agriculture at many sites. After this early boom, there are changes in the nature of settlement records; aside from passage tombs, the evidence for activity between 3400-3100 cal BC is limited. From 3400 cal BC, we see a decrease in the frequency of cereal evidence and an increase in some wild resources (e.g. fruits, but not nuts, in the records), alongside evidence for re-afforestation in pollen diagrams (3500–3000 cal BC). Changes occur at a time of worsening climatic conditions, as shown in Irish bog oak and reconstructed bog surface wetness records, although the links between the various records, and assessment of causes and effects, will require further investigation and may prove complex. This period seems to have been one of environmental, landscape, settlement and economic change. The later 4th millennium BC emerges as a period that would benefit from focused research attention, particularly as the observed changes in Ireland seem to have parallels in Britain and further afield.

25 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I thought you'd find it interesting, he!

      Now go and speculate...

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    2. Modified speculation, still revolving around the idea of food-getting and three ecological zones: mediterranean, continental and atlantean (hyuck hyuck) but different and hopefully better.

      1) Temperature differences between the continental and mediterranean zones smoothed over by the climate optimum. This allowed a range expansion from the SE represented by LBK.

      2) The Atlantic coast was problematic for watery rather than temperature reasons (exemplified later by La Hoguette???) so the spread there came more along the coast than overland and was largely tied to the coast for seafood leading to a distinct coastal culture which eventually developed into the semi-lost Atlantean civilization of fish, metals and megaliths.

      2b) Possibly a region of H-Gs in a kind of no mans land in between LBK and the coastal fishing culture???

      (If i was better at searching i'd link here to one of your maps of iirc U? mtdna along the Atlantic coast.)

      3) Something happened (climate change?) which increased the distinction between med and continental zones and knocked down the LBK farmers.

      4) The Atlantean zone had the seafood buffer so wasn't as badly effected but the colder climate made food-getting in the coastal zone more difficult creating the pressure to come up with an improved solution.

      5) Judging solely by the population graphs Denmark (Funnelbeaker?) (or possibly Britain/Brittany a little earlier) came up with a food-getting method that worked better in the changed circumstances which then spread widely including throughout the megalithism / atlantean zone and east to Poland.

      6) This modified farming package then becomes the basis for food-getting over a very large terriotory and the corded ware culture.

      6b) The seeming corded ware population decline actually being the result of more mobile settlements leaving less trace rather than less people???

      7) BB as essentially the trader element of the atlantean civilization, culturally influential and possibly demically as well but not dominating through large numbers??

      7b) Maritime BB staying connected to the source. Continental BB more disconnected from the source and inclined to merge into other cultures??? (simply due to travel times i.e. sea travel faster)

      7c) The interplay of BB, corded ware and kurgan influences spawning later cultures???

      ###

      This gives R1b spreading along the coast at first and then inland from the west at a later date.

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    3. I think that you may be right when hinting at fish as a more stable or at least complementary source of food. However Danes had been fishing since at least Epipaleolithic (Maglemøse, not marked but before Ertebølle) and their numbers also declined after the Neolithic Climate Optimum (Ertebølle). Maglemøse is also known in Eastern Britain (surely originated at or spread via Doggerland), so 2/3 of the same. So maybe it was more a combo of different complementary sources of food.

      But still that's surely just one reason: social organization and chaos must have played a role. While in Central Europe (and surely also France, especially with the late Chalcolithic), we can easily talk of war scenarios in the Chalcolithic, this is less obvious or at least less dramatic in the islands and peninsulas.

      As soon as we reach the Early Chalcolithic (pan-European chronology), the Eastern Balcans especiall became a very affluent region and, IMO, we are surely before the first formal and large European monarchy in the case of Bulgaria-Valaquia (Karanovo VI-Gumelnita), older than Egypt. This influenced nearby areas and became a magnet for nomadic raiders (Kurgan peoples from the steppes).

      Meanwhile in Germany and neighboring areas, we see a disintegration of the Western Danubian society (unlike the Eastern one, of the Pannonian basin which was more stable apparently) and likely intestine conflicts (notably Michelsberg did expand somewhat at the expense of Epi-Rössen, particularly in the Rhine area). It is in this context that we see the arrival of that Kurgan offshoot of Baalberge (mercenaries?, opportunists?, armed exiles? all of the above?), which initially is also expansionist (although it must have suffered a setback at the end of its time, probably against Baden, delaying the definitive IE expansion by many centuries).

      I do speculate that the Western Danubians may have been from the beginning more aggressive (burials with weapons), maybe because the region was more densely populated by hunter-gatherers and/or non-Danubian Neolithic groups (La Hoguette, several local groups in Belgium and North France) and maybe also because they did use opium, whose narcotic properties can also narcotize the emotions (alcohol would do too but I'm not aware of alcoholic beverages so early), being up to a point a "good" drug for warlike peoples. There is also at least one known case of "civilian massacre" in Western Danubian context. All this is harder to explain only on ecological and economical factors, which surely also weighted somewhat.

      ...

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    4. ...

      "This modified farming package then becomes the basis for food-getting over a very large terriotory and the corded ware culture".

      If it was based on fish, then surely not. I would argue if anything on greater reliance on cattle in the case of Central European Kurgan-derived cultures (Globular Amphorae for example do have oxen burials with ritual characteristics).

      "The seeming corded ware population decline actually being the result of more mobile settlements leaving less trace rather than less people???"

      It could well be but up to a point. Large numbers of people will almost unavoidably need more stable settlements, which should leave traces. The allegedly nomadic lifestyle itself implies low density of population.

      "BB as essentially the trader element of the atlantean civilization, culturally influential and possibly demically as well but not dominating through large numbers??"

      With the evidence we have we cannot say that BB is a mere Atlantic appendix, although it can't be said either it is a mere extension of Central European Kurgans either. It may well have been an influential minority organized around some "religious beliefs" and the practice of international trade, a bit like Medieval Jews (but different of course). One thing we can say of the BB period is that the context seems to be of relative peace, so maybe their trade (built on pre-existant Megalithic and other routes) and diplomacy was very important in keeping peace after the Chalcolithic "troubles". On the other hand they were clearly armed and fond of weapons (daggers, bows), although this does not necessarily imply war (maybe just for "self-defense", as well as "macho" prestige?)

      "Maritime BB staying connected to the source. Continental BB more disconnected from the source and inclined to merge into other cultures??? (simply due to travel times i.e. sea travel faster)"

      Maritime BB style is also known as "International" and quite widespread. More refined than the Continental or Corded style. They do seem to have different centralities (Portugal and Bohemia respectively) but I wouldn't dare to judge further.

      "The interplay of BB, corded ware and kurgan influences spawning later cultures???"

      This seems pretty obvious in the case of Unetice, as mentioned below in another comment. But again it's not possible (at least for me) to adventure details.

      "This gives R1b spreading along the coast at first and then inland from the west at a later date".

      I wouldn't dare to reach any strong conclusions re. R1b. From the haplogroup distribution it seems to me that European specific R1b subhaplogroups spread mostly prior to Neolithic (centers in Franco-Cantabrian Region and Doggerland/Nordic area), even if it may have got a re-expansion (or several) after Neolithic proper, with Funnelbeaker, Megalithism, Artenac, Bell Beaker... or maybe even in certain Kurgan-derived contexts.

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    5. >> This modified farming package then becomes the basis for food-
      >> getting over a very large terriotory and the corded ware culture.


      > If it was based on fish, then surely not. I would argue if
      > anything on greater reliance on cattle in the case of Central
      > European Kurgan-derived cultures (Globular Amphorae for example do > have oxen burials with ritual characteristics)."

      Yes i meant did the Funnelbeaker people develop a package with a greater reliance on cattle.

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    6. The reason for that idea being - going just by those population charts - it looks like Denmark (or maybe Britain) recovered first from the LBK decline.

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    7. Funnelbeaker can't be considered, I understand, "a people" but more like a cultural interaction area among various cultures of diverse origins (Danubian, Kurgan and others). Globular Amphorae are quite clearly descendant of Kurgans, so if anything this would apply to these peoples and not the non-existent "Funnelbeaker people".

      "... it looks like Denmark (or maybe Britain) recovered first from the LBK decline."

      Except that there was no LBK at all in those areas. Well, actually British Neolithic has double origins: Westernmost LBK (partly rooted in local cultures) from NW France and Armorican Megalithism, which fused with each other somewhat (but areal differences are perceptible too). In any case there was no LBK (nor Neolithic that we know of) in Britain at the time of LBK apogee.

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  2. The sharp fall in population growth across much of Europe during the Corded Ware/Bell Beaker period is very interesting.

    I'd say low population densities made it easier for relatively small groups with technological and/or social advantages to have a significant impact on the genetic structure of Europe at the time.

    So this data fits perfectly with a Corded Ware and Bell Beaker take over of much of the continent during the Copper Age. The population growth would happen later in various stages, but it seems the genetic foundations of those later demographic expansions were laid down during that time of low population density shown on the graphs above.

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    1. Let me be skeptic of your interpretation. At the end of the period we still see decline, and only in Germany there was some intermediate recovery (BB apogee) which could justify an immigrant influence.

      I'd say that the data rather supports low relevance for these cultures in terms of demography and instead suggest greater impacts at earlier times, around 3500 BCE, with Megalithism, Funnelbeaker and Baalberge (the first Kurgan culture of Central Europe and long term seed of Corded Ware).

      Said that it is still possible that Bronze Age movements had some major impact, especially in the regions that appear demographically devastated (most notably Poland). On the contrary Britain and, to lesser extent, Denmark seem to have ended the Chalcolithic in relatively good terms (less dramatic decline, although still important).

      I'd like to know how the data of Germany goes by regions because there was much diversity in this country in the Chalcolithic: Low Germany (Deeply Impressed Pottery, Funnelbeaker, Megalithism), Central NW Germany (Michelsberg, Funnelbeaker), Southern Germany (Epi-Rössen-derived cultures, Megalithism) and East Germany (Baalberge and later Kurgan cultures, also Funnelbeaker) are at least four clearly different cultural areas to treat separately.

      I'd also like to have comparable info from SW Europe (and any other regions). I have the impression that most of France also suffered a lot in the Chalcolithic, until the Artenac expansion (proto-Basques?), which reached up to Belgium, established some sort of peace (the 1100 years truce with the IEs at the Rhine, once the Danubians, which were sometimes trouble-making, had been conquered at both sides). But then the penetration of BB may imply gradual abandonment of Dolmenic Megalithism and certain appearance of social disintegration. A bit unsure because I haven't read much on this period on France.

      In Iberia, I'd think rather of a high point around BB apogee (c. 2000 BCE), followed by growing troubles (probably wars for the control of access to mineral resources, notably Galician tin) in some areas in the Bronze Age but without apparent decline (except some regions like Southern Portugal) until the ecological crisis of the late Bronze, which resulted in the collapse of the remaining Iberian prehistoric civilizations (but not completely: towns remained but at a lower level of dynamism).

      In Britain we clearly see a stable situation (with increasing importance of monuments, hinting to a religiously hierarchical society, heritage of Armorican Megalithism surely). I'd say that it gradually declined in the Bronze Age and later also in the Iron Age, much as France, with the brief parenthesis of the Celtic La Tène quasi-civilization, destroyed by the Germanic expansion (and secondarily also by the Roman imperialist counter-measures, which absorbed its Western remnants into the imperial network).

      It would be nice to have a complete archaeo-chronology for the whole Neolithic-Metals period and also for much larger parts of Europe. After all these northernly areas were not so important back then, but rather peripheral. Northern Europe only really became a powerhouse since the Middle Ages, with the introduction of key agricultural reforms that allowed its deep soils to produce very well.

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  3. So Baalberge groups in eastern Germany eventually formed the Corded Ware horizon and expanded from there? Was there also input from other groups east of Germany, like from Poland? What about Unetice, where do you see that coming from originally?

    Also, it seems what you're saying is that R1b mostly spread across Western and Northwestern Europe with the Megalithic cultures, and the Bell Beakers just added another layer.

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    1. Sorry, David, your comment went to the spam folder for random mysterious reasons. Corrected.

      "So Baalberge groups in eastern Germany eventually formed the Corded Ware horizon and expanded from there?"

      As I understand it it is more complex and the Globular Amphora first and then Corded Ware expanded from Poland (Cuyavia essentially). Let's see:

      1a. Baalberge appears as an offshoot of Eastern European Kurgans (Seredny-Stog II surely) in Eastern Germany, on a Danubian substrate (minor local culture) but with clear Kurgan elements (burials especially) that gradually become more common. They had a fortified town at Halle, which shows signs of rural aristocracy (better quality pottery and such).

      1b. Baalberge expanded in several directions: Brandenburg forest, Northern Moravia and, crucially Cuyavia (Poland).

      1c. Baalberge also influenced some Western German Danubian cultures (Wesser, Bavaria) but it is not an outright expansion.

      2. Baalberge split into two cultural groups: Walternienburg-Bernburg in East Germany (influenced by Funnelbeaker) and Wiórek, later Luboń, in Cuyavia (North Moravia went to the then highly dynamic Baden culture of the Panonnian basin, of Danubian heritage and surely a state-like tribal federation of some sort). They show some influence from Baden but they continue to be distinct. Luboń culture expanded to West and East (Oder region and Upper Dniepr). I speculate that the expansion to the Kiev area is related to the pressure exerted by Eastern IEs of the Catacomb culture, previously that area also showed strong Baden influences, as if it acted as a marche against steppary threats.

      3. Luboń is succeeded by Globular Amphora, which continues the expansive trend, notably reabsorbing the Eastern German group. The Danubian cultural influences become more intense (no tumuli anymore but cist burial in flexed position, also some Funnelbeaker influences).

      4. There is then a small group known as Zlota culture which appears to come from Catacomb culture in the steppes: burials in catacombs with slab floors: generally women lay on the right side and men on the left side. This group may be somewhat important in triggering the transition to Corded Ware.

      5. Corded ware: takes over all Globular Amphorae area and beyond (all West Germany, Czech Country, Scandinavia, etc.) Burials again in tumuli (revitalization of IE kurgan traditions) with the reverse gender-specific positions as in Zlota, sometimes also incineration under tumulus. Standard grave goods: cup, amphora (corded impressions), flint or bone tools, the so-called "combat axe" (actually a prestige semi-precious item not meant to be used). Almost no known settlements. Economy: agriculture and pastoralism, horse and primitive 4-wheeled cart, copper metallurgy. In Scandinavia it is known also as Single Burials culture (as opposed to the pre-existant "collective" or "clannic" burials proper of Dolmenic Megalithism, which is eradicated).

      At about that same time Baden culture is replaced by Vucedol, believed to have an IE elite with habitation in so-called "megaron" (proto-Greeks???) According to the Bohemian origin theory, Bell Beaker genesis would be influenced by the Moravian variants of this culture. It is notable that BB generally shows the opposite gender burial pattern as CW, i.e. men on the left and women on the right (as in Zlota). The standard burial goods of BB also show some similitude with the ones of CW, especially the presence of the bell-shaped beaker and the tendency to standarization (typically: beaker, copper knife, archer armband of schist, moon-shaped pendants, V-perforated buttons, gold spirals -currency?-, arrows) The archer tendency of this culture or cultural phenomenon however has much more clear parallels in SW Europe, where archery was already the dominant weaponry (Artenac, Iberian civilizations), while Central and Northern Europe in the Chalcolithic show instead an apparent preference for axes.

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    2. "Also, it seems what you're saying is that R1b mostly spread across Western and Northwestern Europe with the Megalithic cultures, and the Bell Beakers just added another layer".

      I am not saying that as such. But in rough terms it could fit approximately with what I think.

      Rather than giving such an outstanding importance to BB, I'd give it to Megalithism instead. Megalithism was extremely influential and in many regions it is almost indivisible from Neolithic itself (often it begins just centuries after agriculture, for example in Galicia, Britain, also in Portugal but a whole millennia earlier, Brittany/Armorica...)

      BB in most places is just an epiphenomenon, with the previous cultural layers showing continuity. BB is for me something like a "trader guild" rather than a true culture. However it does have a very distinctive manifestation what may imply some sort of religious beliefs of the members of the "guild", which may have been both born in it or "converted". Megalithism also has surely a religious dimension of some sort and therefore it also implies "conversion", assimilation, and not necessarily migration. But it is a much more impacting, dominant, cultural phenomenon, with widespread and long-lasting presence. In general I think that Megalithism was much more influential, also in the pop. genetics aspect, than BB.

      Notice that all Low Germany, as well as the Sub-Alpine region (Southern Germany, German Switzerland, Tyrol) are also incorporated to the Megalithic area in the Middle and Late Chalcolithic (until Corded Ware takeover), just like most of Scandinavia, etc. There are many other pockets of Megalithism or, also "collective burial" in non-Megalithic tombs, which are surely related. Essentially all Western Europe, incl. West Germany, Italy and Scandinavia were part of that.

      "What about Unetice, where do you see that coming from originally?"

      In general I suspect them deriving from Corded Ware and BB but I have not studied the Bronze Age of that area in any depth so uncertain.

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    3. According to what I can read in Wikipedia, Unetice fits well with being locally derived from Late Chalcolithic substrate.

      The culture corresponds to "Bronze A1 and A2" in the chronological schema of Paul Reinecke:

      A1: 2300-1950 BC: triangular daggers, flat axes, stone wrist-guards, flint arrowheads
      A2: 1950-1700 BC: daggers with metal hilt, flanged axes, halberds, pins with perforated spherical heads, solid bracelets


      The A1 style shows clear correlation with BB (triangular daggers, stone-wrist guards, flint arrowheads) and maybe CW (axes). I wouldn't consider the A1 phase "Bronze Age", really. That surely corresponds to the A2 phase only, if at all. notice that other sources suggest later dates for A1 and A2 phases (which I think more correct):

      ·A2 1600–2000 BCE
      ·A1 2000–2200 BCE

      A later paragraph reads:

      Unetice metalsmiths mainly used pure copper; alloys of copper with arsenic, antimony and tin to produce bronze became common only in the succeeding periods.

      So basically a Copper Age culture, not truly Bronze yet.

      Also again ancestral relation with BB:

      The clay cups found in burials, especially of the Adlerberg-group, are typical for Unetice as well. They indicate beaker connections, as do the bone-buttons with a v-shaped perforation, the stone wrist guards and the arrowheads.

      Adleberg is not really Unetice senso stricto but a close relative from the Rhine, surely proto-Celtic. Another group from Bavaria (Straubing) has been speculated to be ancestral to Italics. All three groups anyhow merged in the Tumulus culture that succeeded them, while this was succeeded by Urnfields, which is when Central European IEs show again clear signs of expansion (Italy, Languedoc-Catalonia, etc.)

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    4. Anyhow the A1 phase corresponds in Germany (and the Czech Country) with the last part of the graphs above, which indicates clear decline, so on first sight Unetice-Adlerberg-Straubing does not look demographically expansive but contracting instead.

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  4. OK, thanks.

    Unetice aDNA to date has looked very interesting and much more eastern-like (forest steppe?) than Corded Ware. But it's early days yet in that respect.

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    1. Have you thought that maybe Corded Ware was not that homogeneous in genetic terms? How representative could be a sample of n=2 (Brotherton 2013)? Even the Unetice sample (n=6) may not be conclusive enough either.

      I would suspect that under CW and later cultural layers, there was some important diversity in the various regions. Surely the underlying population layers were not "eradicated" but rather put to work for the new regime. So I'd suspect that they should reflect, at least to some extent the diversity of the Middle Chalcolithic.

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    2. Keep in mind that we've also seen fairly decent Unetice and Corded Ware samples in Adler 2012, and a small Corded Ware sample in Haak et al. 2008. But yes, I understand what you mean.

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    3. You're right. So much data that I cannot remember it all. :)

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  5. Maju,

    I pretty much have the same picture in mind re BB as you do. I think they secured existing strategic trading points (probably including providing or enabling services such as food, shelter, and river crossings) and as such made trade much safer. This also would explain why they were apparently welcomed wherever they established themselves. I also think their arrival around the Rhine river and exposure to IE there could very well signal the beginning of proto-Celtic (then spreading west from there).

    Generally speaking, during and after the neolithic we should assume that there was always some cultural and population continuity (and cline of some sort) in the northern planes from the Rhine all the way to the Ukraine (outside the steppes): while the winters are colder in the east, the climates are sufficiently similar, and there are no geographic barriers (also including. to a lesser degree, Bohemia and Moravia). It is only during excessive cold or dry and hot times that the western regions would have been preferred, and there are at least some westerly population movements that fit this scenario (e.g., Globular Amphora). However, outside of a general cline, I very much doubt that there were much genetic differences between these people (i.e., largely, newcomers did not come from the steppes or from deep SE Europe).

    Especially Globular Amphora I view not as Kurgan but West Pontic people who migrated NW for climatic reasons (they also established settlements at somewhat higher altitudes (100 - 200m above river valleys) than previously common, indicating that (i) they did not dare taking away land owned by the locals, and (ii) sought some protection or safety.

    I am not certain about this, but everything I have read about LBK and most of its directly following cultures indicates to me that they were unfamiliar with the practice of girdling. As such, they must have had a really hard time establishing additional farmland: on the good soils, most native forests in Central and Northern Europe do not burn (the pine forests on sandy soils do, but were useless except for much-later-introduced sheep grazing, before the advent of fertilizers). Girdling may have been introduced as late as 3,500 to 3,000 BCE, when at the same time agriculturalists are first documented to use (at first modestly) higher altitudes for permanent settlements on a widespread basis. But also note that in much of Central to Northern Europe, an altitude of just a few 100 m means the difference between rather sporadic and permanent snow cover from December through March.

    Finally, I would take the "Germanic expansion" picture with a grain of salt. Certainly, by Caesar's time, Germanic people had been living on the right side (and partially on the left side; later: Germania Inferior) of the Rhine all the way to the upper Rhine (later: Germania Superior), in Suebia, parts of Bavaria, and all the way to parts of Austria (e.g., the Inn river) for centuries. Conversely, there is very little toponymic evidence of Celtic as a language significantly East of the Rhine and North of the Alps, except in a few trading post / oppida names. This to me indicates that Celtic-speaking Celts were a very sparse, late-arriving elite (probably from Switzerland, W Austria and western surrounding low lands) as also demonstrated by late eastward Celtic (military! - not necessarily population) expansions. I don't see any evidence that S German populations were genetically much different from N German ones, and their language - if not plain Germanic - was at least somewhere on the proto-Balcan (Illyrian)/ proto-Italic/ proto-Germanic spectrum, with a tendency to the latter, as IMO attested by toponyms.

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    1. As I explained to Davidski above, I do not understand Globular Amphora (GA) as immigrants in any way but as continuity with Luboń, which in turn is continuation of Wiórek, which is one of the two subgroups derived from Baalberge. These, Baalberge, were the immigrants! Immigrants of clear Kurgan culture (over a local Danubian substrate) that can only be related to the Dniepr-Don area in very secondary form, i.e. in the context of the complex transitional phase of Sredny-Stog II, which was quite clearly triggered, as I understand it, by Kurgan invasions from further East (Samara area, Volga basin).

      In other words and straight chronological order: Kurgan invasions spawned from the Samara region and more or less conquered the Dniepr-Don region (complex multiethnic context this of Sredny-Stog II) as preliminary step to raid and invade the affluent cultures/civilizations of the Balcans, notably Karanovo VI-Gumelnita (Bulgaria and surroundings).

      An offshoot (Baalberge aristocracy) for some mysterious reason ended up in Eastern Germany, ruling over a distinctive Danubian population, from where they expanded Eastwards. Then they may have well suffered some sort of decisive defeat and split in two weaker groups, of which the Eastern one (Wiórek-Luboń-GA) expanded again until it reabsorbed the Western Elba group, as well as many other areas.

      Then a Catacomb invasion maybe (Zlota group) recycled GA into an even more powerful horde (Corded Ware) which conquered all Central and Northern Europe, as well ample parts of Eastern Europe.

      The Aquitanian archers (Artenac), who were also fighting against the Danubians (who previously had expanded into Armorica) met them near the Rhine and a new order arose in which the Danubian culture (nor the Scandinavian Megalithic one) was no more.

      Somehow the Bell Beaker "guild" was able to benefit from this new situation and may even have favored it actively. Bell Beaker surely acted as cultural and economic bridge, keeping open the Amber route for the Westerners and bringing in exchange to the Easterners whatever else (gold maybe?)

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    2. [Danubians] "... must have had a really hard time establishing additional farmland: on the good soils, most native forests in Central and Northern Europe do not burn (the pine forests on sandy soils do, but were useless except for much-later-introduced sheep grazing, before the advent of fertilizers). Girdling may have been introduced as late as 3,500 to 3,000 BCE"...

      I was not aware of that problem. But I know for a fact that the first ones to clear and settle the Brandenburg forest were the people of Baalberge. I wonder if the practice was imported from Eastern Europe or what.

      ...

      What you say of Celtics does not fit with archaeology (La Téne culture especially) and I do not think you have any reason to claim that Germanics were established in Middle and Upper Germany "for centuries". We know for example that the Boii were from Bohemia, which is quite far North and that there was Celtic presence all the way to Thuringia. Furthermore there was never, excepting Corded Ware, any single shared culture between the Alps and Scandinavia (nor any comparable geographical variant). There were instead two main different regions: the Lowlands (Low Germany, much of Netherlands, Denmark and Southern Scandinavia peninsula) and the Hill Country (Middle and Upper Germany, German Switzerland, parts of Austria, Bohemia...) This distinction existed in the Neolithic (LBK vs. Ertebølle), most of Chalcolithic (late Danubians of both branches vs. Deeply Impressed Pottery and TRBK) and (after the blurry CW/BB interlude) in the distinction between Unetice-Tumuli-Urnfields-Hallstatt-La Tène) and the populations North of them. These populations of the North, crystalizing in the Nordic Iron Age and probably also Jastorf culture are the precursors of Germanics. The populations of the South should be described as Italo-Celtic (or Italo-Celto-Illyric assuming that Albanian is not Illyric, otherwise no relation).

      [Note: one of the issues with Illyric is that many of the groups once classified as such, like the Veneti, are being now redefined as Italic in fact, so maybe Illyric is not related at all with Italo-Celtic].

      I'm not sure with what cultures would you relate the Celts but for me it's plausible that Celtic origins are at the Adlerberg culture of the Rhine, having maybe a more mixed, creole, origin than groups like Unetice (senso stricto), which I would not be surprised that are at the origin of Italics, which seem a tad more conservative (less creolized) towards proto-IE and the ancient knot that ties WIE (i.e. Italo-Celto-Germano-Balto-Slavic) with Greek, particularly Mycenaean Greek (whose words often sound more like Latin than like classical Greek).

      ...

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    3. ...

      "... there is very little toponymic evidence of Celtic as a language significantly East of the Rhine and North of the Alps"...

      I'm no expert but for what I can find online I must disagree.

      You may be right however in that much of those areas were originally not Celtic but Italic (or Illyrian or whatever) and that Celtization outside of the Rhine area (or maybe the West Hallstatt area, or whatever) only happened with La Tène, the same as in most other parts of the "Celtic World" of Antiquity (i.e. in most of France, all Britain, all Ireland and all the Cisalpine Gaul). But there was still a clear and persistent North-South duality in Central Europe in the Bronze-Iron Ages as there was in the Neolithic, as evidenced for example in this map.

      "I don't see any evidence that S German populations were genetically much different from N German ones".

      I don't see how this is evidence of anything. There are many ethno-linguistic entities that are genetically diverse and ethno-linguistic pluralities that are strikingly homogeneous instead (say Balochi and Brahui, for example). Another question would be how that genetic homogeneity you claim as real formed. Maybe if you would write an article with data, maps and graphs on the matter in your quite unused blog, I could look on the matter more in depth. One could appeal to several ethno-genetic episodes from Danubian Neolithic (of which Deeply Impressed Pottery may be an offshoot, it's very unclear) to the Middle Ages, passing through Corded Ware and the Germanic migrations. But in general I do see a persistent cultural duality, so your claim of genetic homogeneity is somewhat puzzling.

      ... "and their language - if not plain Germanic - was at least somewhere on the proto-Balcan (Illyrian)/ proto-Italic/ proto-Germanic spectrum, with a tendency to the latter"...

      I don't think that Germanic and Italic are particularly related other than being part of the wider Western IE branch. Italo-Celtic, while debated, is a very seriously considered IE subfamily, while Germanic stands out as very peculiar in Western IE because of its original sound shifts (Grimm's and Verner's laws).

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  6. Maju,

    The way I see it, the Copper Age and early Bronze Age Pontic Steppe people were not very numerous, thinly distributed, related to and/or in close contact with W/NW Pontic agriculturalists, and (as artifacts show) traded for goods from Anatolia and the Caucasus - from which they also learned metal working and the Kurgan burial practice (see, e.g., the recent Kohl paper discussed at Dienekes'). Therefor, any "Kurgan" cultural influence has to be taken with a grain of salt regarding its origin: it seems to me something generally and widely Pontic that originated in the agricultural SE Pontic area - not in the steppes.

    In German research, Baalberge is typically seen as the first era of TRB, while in its late stages it is replaced by the (locally-then) Bronze-Age Unetice. The latter is typically seen as an early part of the divergence movement between Italic, Celtic, and Germanic - which makes sense to me: IE was present in Central Europe before the Bronze Age, but the Bronze Age forced a wider spread and thus triggered a diversification.

    Bohemia is in no way "North," in a German or Germanic perspective. There was ample trade with culturally Celtic people from the south to middle and northern Germany - but that says nothing about their language nor their genetic make-up. As to Corded Ware - I believe that exactly is the early unifying factor for much of the region.

    While I don't agree with it, Grimm's and Verner's law are typically dated to after the middle of the 1st millennium BCE. As such, during the Bronze age and the initial Iron age, pre-proto Germanic outside some innovative core region must have been a very typical western IE.

    The very wide spread of Germanic that suddenly contains both sound shifts is still a mystery. I would also like to emphasize that I do not know of any modern researcher that would place the origin outside Jastorf (in particular, it is not in Scandinavia). Most likely, the language innovations persisted for a long (500 - 1,000 years) time locally, and then became the standard all-around. In that sense, and given the paucity of non-Germanic toponyms in middle and southern Germany, I feel that whatever language was spoken in middle and southern Germany, it was as close to pre-proto-Germanic as any place else within several to many hundreds of km from Jastorf.

    As to the wikipedia entry about Celtic toponyms, most of it is simply wrong. I will try to make a post about that in the next few days.

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    1. Even if Kurgan immigrants were not too numerous there were at least two waves and, when combined with the demographic collapse we can see in Central Europe at several times, their influence could still have been significant, never mind that elites always have some reproductive privileges, particularly men.

      "... Baalberge is typically seen as the first era of TRB"...

      My opinion is also based on German research. Whatever the case, TRBK is clearly older in Denmark and, regardless of Funnelbeaker influences, which also affected other groups, Baalberge does manifest clear Kurgan (and not Megalithic as was the case with the original Danish TRBK nor nearby Low German/Dutch Deep Impressed Pottery culture), so, once we decide to ignore the Funnelbeaker element, then they look clearly different: some are Megalithic, others are Kurgan and yet others are late Danubian. Funnelbeaker is not homogeneous but a secondary areal trait.

      ... "while in its late stages it is replaced by the (locally-then) Bronze-Age Unetice".

      Unetice does not replace Funnelbeaker but Bell Beaker. Also Unetice is restricted to Middle and High "Greater Germania", even if we do count Adlerberg and Straubing within it, being irrelevant in Low Germania AFAIK.

      "Bohemia is in no way "North," in a German or Germanic perspective".

      It is Center (i.e. not South either) and quite to the North within the Celtic perspective.

      "There was ample trade with culturally Celtic people from the south to middle and northern Germany - but that says nothing about their language nor their genetic make-up."

      We see oppidae, we see La Tène and we see a substrate that corresponds to Middle-High 'Germania' and NOT to Low 'Germania', always out of the Unetice-Tumuli-Unrfields core-Hallstatt-La Tène.

      You are clearly ignoring this pattern that extends through the whole Bronze Age and most of the Iron Age.

      "Grimm's and Verner's law are typically dated to after the middle of the 1st millennium BCE".

      I have no idea.

      "As such, during the Bronze age and the initial Iron age, pre-proto Germanic outside some innovative core region must have been a very typical western IE".

      Maybe we can imagine that this "typical Western IE" spread from Southern Central Europe (Urnfields' core) northwards (derived Nordic Urnfields).

      That is one of the main options I can imagine for Germanic genesis, the other would be differentiation within Corded Ware (Single Burials culture of Scandinavia). I really don't have any preference but it's plausible that the Germanic language first expanded S→N (from Nordic Urnfields to Nordic Bronze) before expanding N→S (from Jastorf to La Tène areas). In any case I do think that Single Burials (CW) did bring an IE language to Scandinavia, even if this was later replaced by another one.

      "I do not know of any modern researcher that would place the origin outside Jastorf"..

      Fine with me. It is still in the Nordic area, even if there are two subareas within it: the Low German/Dutch area and the Danish/Scandinavian one, often independent but also always interacting with each other.

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