October 24, 2015

The oldest known plague

New ancient DNA research has identified the bacterium Yersinia pestis, which causes the deadly and epidemic illness known as plague, in Chalcolithic and Bronze Age Central Eurasia, from Altai to Poland and the Caucasus.

S. Rasmussen, M.E. Alentoft et al., Early Divergent Strains of Yersinia pestis in Eurasia 5,000 Years Ago. Cell 2015. Open accessLINK [doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2015.10.009]

Summary

The bacteria Yersinia pestis is the etiological agent of plague and has caused human pandemics with millions of deaths in historic times. How and when it originated remains contentious. Here, we report the oldest direct evidence of Yersinia pestis identified by ancient DNA in human teeth from Asia and Europe dating from 2,800 to 5,000 years ago. By sequencing the genomes, we find that these ancient plague strains are basal to all known Yersinia pestis. We find the origins of the Yersinia pestis lineage to be at least two times older than previous estimates. We also identify a temporal sequence of genetic changes that lead to increased virulence and the emergence of the bubonic plague. Our results show that plague infection was endemic in the human populations of Eurasia at least 3,000 years before any historical recordings of pandemics.

The bacterium was yet unable to cause the bubonic form of the plague and could not spread by means of fleas either. Instead it probably caused pneumonic and spticemic plague and was propagated by coughing and sneezing, much like the flu. 


Figure 1
Archaeological Sites of Bronze Age Yersinia pestis
(A) Map of Eurasia indicating the position, radiocarbon dated ages and associated cultures of the samples in which Y. pestis were identified. Dates are given as 95% confidence interval calendar BC years. IA: Iron Age.
(B) Burial four from Bulanovo site. Picture by Mikhail V. Khalyapin. See also Table S1.

In spite of the hype, the prevalence of the plague was low: only 7 out of 101 samples tested positive for the bacterium, ranging from c. 2800 BCE (Altai) to c. 1000 BCE (Southern Azerbaijan, Iran). A 7% prevalence is still significant but it's also obvious that 93% of the people in the period studied did not die from the plague, so let's not exaggerate, alright?

The exaggeration is already seeded in the study with passages as this one:
These early plagues may have been responsible for the suggested population declines in the late 4th millennium BC and the early 3rd millennium BC (Hinz et al., 2012, Shennan et al., 2013).

Neither of the referenced studies (see here and here) deals with Eastern Europe, West Asia or Central Asia, and the analyzed dates only slightly overlap with the period in which Y. pestis is found, so I fail to see the logic. It is true that there could be a coincidence in the case of Little Poland, where both Y. pestis and a demographic decline are apparent c. 2000 BCE but in all other cases it really needs a good deal of imagination to make any association.

In any case, it is clear that even the most virulent plague ever known, the Black Death, only managed to make a dent in the European demography and its consequences were not those of demographic re-expansion of the less affected populations (Polish, Basques) but a double socio-economic transition in two phases:
  1. The lack of manpower in the decades after the Black Death allowed the lower classes to renegotiate their situation in various ways. It was the period in which the feudal system was most dramatically eroded, with peasants gaining control on their farmed lands and lords losing large shares of their exploitative profits, while being forced to compete against each other for whom offered best working conditions to the now scarce farmers, who, legally or not, migrated from the worst places to the ones offering better conditions. 
  2. A reaction by profit-jealous landlords that largely replaced farming by husbandry, which requires less manpower. A well known case were the English enclosures, which would, slowly but steadily, set the foundations of Capitalism.

This is explained by historian, actor and director Terry Jones in the following video:





So the consequences and context of these epidemics must be considered adequately and not distorted nor simplified unduly in the line of the infamous Guns, Germs and Steel book, which greatly exaggerates the consequences of natural epidemics and is one of the favorite books of Eurocentric reactionaries with a distorted and overly simplistic view of things. One of the "virtues" of the epidemic hype is that it somehow absolves the winners from their historical crimes, blaming them on nature almost alone: instead of genocide, they use these deformations of reality to blame the mass destruction of whole nations and populations, be them Neanderthals or Native Americans, on "natural causes". 

Hypocrisy!

Instead I wonder about the real demographic impact, not yet well assessed, of the epidemics, and also about the real socio-economic consequences of such demographic declines. Of course, they could have allowed for localized migrations in the aftermath of the epidemics (or whatever other causes of demographic declines) but they should also have favored at least short-term renegotiations of the social order in favor of the suddenly scarce working classes (farmers). This "upward mobility" and partial "leveling" of what was already in many cases a feudal-like caste society should have dramatic effects in the constitution of the nations of the Bronze Age, regardless of later re-adjustments and expansions, which one can imagine as an imperfectly cyclical process.

60 comments:

  1. "In any case, it is clear that even the most virulent plague ever known, the Black Death, only managed to make a dent in the European demography and its consequences were not those of demographic re-expansion of the less affected populations (Polish, Basques) "

    If a population was already on the move they'd have an advantage. No one is saying people being less affected would cause them to migrate.

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    1. A population on the move? Can you give me an example? I can think of individual or family sized migrants, maybe whole village-sized communities in a properly scheduled short distance resettling or even armies with groupies migrating-while-looting but whole nations? Who fed them? Because eating needs harvests and harvests need cultivation and cultivation needs workers tending the fields for virtually all the year.

      I don't think you have given enough thought to the notion of "population on the move", particularly to its logistics.

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    2. Nomadic pastoralists are a population on the move, no? Or even just hunters on the steppe, like the Blackfoot?

      I would submit to you that nomadic groups in general had an advantage over more settled peoples for the bulk of recorded history. Indo-Europeans of course, but also Berbers, Arabs and other Semitic groups, Turks, Mongols, Huns, Magyars, Manchus...

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    3. Reasonably good point, Ryan. However in all cases the nomadic pastoralists seem unable to overwhelm the farmers with their numbers, even if they can defeat them in the military arena and thus become their rulers and even sometimes impose their language. Wherever you go, nomadic or semi-nomadic pastoralists are always small numbers relative to their neighboring sedentary farmers or mixed-type agriculturalists.

      If we see a classical example, Turkic expansion, we can easily appreciate that, in spite of the process taking many many centuries, with likely repeated waves, their main genetic impact was in Kazakhstan, a largely arid area with low density. Just looking at neighboring Uzbekistan, the core sedentary country of Central Asia, shows that the Turkic genetic impact was much smaller. Once we move away from the semi-nomadic area, their genetic impact became negligible, almost invisible, even if they obviously had a military, cultural and often enough also linguistic impact.

      The Turkic or Altaic expansion is an excellent model to understand how the Indoeuropean one probably worked in previous centuries. However Indoeuropeans had a larger impact because, instead of one millennia or a bit longer, their expansion was ongoing for at least four (considering until Roman Era, which is a bit arbitrary but maybe convenient approximative end date for the Old World). Also IEs appear to have been pioneers in this model of expansion, with no other precursors or competitors we can identify (until the Turkics took over). Only Semitics show a similar pattern of expansion in a similar timeline, but limited to West Asia and The Horn (before Islam) and initially without horses or other mounts, aspect in which they are not pioneering at all.

      Anyhow, the key question is numbers and logistics. I was looking on the aborted Helvetian migration, which is maybe the only historical document about what seems to be a Western IE population on the move. It is clear that they required complicity of their neighbors along the migrant route: Rome sabotaged their easiest route through Narbonensis but some Gallic tribes were required to help them (again sabotaged by the Romans) and it seems also apparent that the tribe of destination, the Santones of Armorica, was also accomplice. In other words: the migration was possible (in especial circumstances) but it required allies all along the way, otherwise the logistics were impossible and that's exactly what Caesar sabotaged, forcing the Helvetii to remain in their original lands and starting the Gallic War.

      As for the Blackfoot, I don't understand how they could apply as example, sorry.

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    4. Re: the Blackfoot - I don't mean it as an example of demographic turnover, but just as an example of a highly nomadic people - ie a people on the move.

      Though Algonquian languages are relatively young and relatively widespread, so presumably there was some sort of fairly significant and poorly understood expansion there.

      Keep in mind that it may be that the Indo-Europeans (and Semites) seem to have originated this sort of expansion simply because their expansions occurred right at the dawn of written history. For all we know there could have been other significant changes earlier that we are mostly blind to.

      I suspect that part of their successes had to do with climate change as well. Much of the Middle East simply became better suited to nomadic lifestyles as the climate dried. So that may have played a part in their success and demographic importance too.

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    5. We are usually more or less aware of such migrations or conquests because they do leave a trail on the archaeological registry. For example it is very apparent that the Vinca-Dimini cultural complex is the product of a migration/conquest by people originating in Upper Mesopotamia, surely closely related to Tell Halaf culture. Or we know that the Michelsberg culture in West Germany displaced the LBK-derived Rössen and epi-Rössen cultures, although the precise origins of Michelsberg are blurry. So we can in fact track those older migrations at least in many cases, although admittedly it is less obvious what languages can be associated to them for lack of records (but that also applies to much of the IE expansion anyhow).

      As for climate change, maybe it was more complicated than you imagine and it was maybe this drying what pushed Semites to invade. Remember that they had no camels, not even horses, so their semi-nomadism was all the time on foot, what is much more limited in their range. Also the "green deserts" would have allowed for more pastoralism than true deserts, quite obviously. While steppe or savanna allow for pastoralism and are poorly suited for farming in most cases, deserts do not (much less without camels). The archaeological evidence for the Circum-Arabian Pastoralist Complex and its precursors like Harifian is limited to semi-arid and not truly arid lands. It is quite plausible that the shrinking of the semi-arid belt actually pushed the nomads to invade the farmlands.

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    6. Yah, agreed on all points.

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    7. "Also IEs appear to have been pioneers in this model of expansion"

      Also farmer population density may have been less in the early days of farming.

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    8. @Grey: "the early days of farming" were far behind in the time of Indoeuropean invasions (or Semitic invasions in the case of West Asia, which are roughly contemporary). Civilizations were already beginning to flourish all around and that responds necessarily to more advanced agriculture and widespread trade networks, these well documented.

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  2. 93% of the people in the period studied did not die from the plague, so let's not exaggerate, alright?

    The exaggeration is already seeded in the study with passages as this one:
    These early plagues may have been responsible for the suggested population declines in the late 4th millennium BC and the early 3rd millennium BC (Hinz et al., 2012, Shennan et al., 2013).

    Neither of the referenced studies (see here and here) deals with Eastern Europe, West Asia or Central Asia, and the analyzed dates only slightly overlap with the period in which Y. pestis is found, so I fail to see the logic

    I think you are quite right here.
    To Steppe theory to succeed the proponents are mostly relying on these assumptions.
    1. Massive invasion from Steppe area to the parts of WC Europe and SC Asia, creating a notable genetic impact.
    2. A reason to suggest there was a decrease of population on those areas during or just before the ''IE folks arrived' making the invasions and establishments of IE Languages and cultures easier.

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    1. The Kurgan model does not need of massive migrations and replacement (even if it could have happened in some places to some extent): it just needs of conquest and elite domination. After a while, thanks to the Stockholm syndrome, the slave begins believing that the master is right in everything, that his language and beliefs are better, and that his own ancestral nation, despised for its own defeat and powerlessness, never existed at all: that they were all the time slaves within the master's nation and that such is the gods' will. Later some of them might even get upgraded to cannon fodder or some other expendable role by which, if lucky enough, they might climb up the social cliff.

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    2. Well according to most it is needed, if elite dominance is the way to go then there is no data that can be expected to prove an invasion, especially in case of genetics and things will be problematic in case of linguistics and archaeology also, its about special pleading at best.
      Though perhaps elite dominance will work in some cases but i don't think it ever works in case of ''major IE Migrations'' ever!.

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    3. In case of Turkey In General sense, it happened because non Turkish people were killed during hundreds of years, especially in the last of the last few years.
      Any other case, massive difference of technology between the invaders and invaded are to be taken in account.

      The other cases of invaders of the bronze age until modern time required massive invasions. Even the Turks got numerically superiority just after slaying others slowly, and they were in the verge of gun powder use. Gun powder was used by the Mameluke against mongols in the XII century.

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    4. You are obsesessed with "disproving the invasion", the invasion of which place? Italy, Greece, Ireland, Poland, Hittite Anatolia? Obviously you are not looking at this problematic from a global level. If you'd do, you'd realize that invasion or migration or some other form of propaganda by facts (propagation by action) is absolutely necessary to explain that such a recently diverged macro-language is spoken by nearly everyone from Ireland to Assam.

      The invasions or similar process of expansion of the indoeuropean macro-language do not need to be proven: they are a fact of linguistic reality. What we need is a model that EXPLAINS how this expansion happened better than others, preferably much better. And that's the Kurgan model. If you can propose a working and consistent alternative model, great: let's discuss the advantages and problems of your theory. If you can't then, well, shut up and try to understand why the working paradigm is the working paradigm and not just a fringe theory. Less talking and more studying!

      "Though perhaps elite dominance will work in some cases but i don't think it ever works in case of ''major IE Migrations'' ever!"

      It does work perfectly well. Why wouldn't it? Just because you "don't think" so? That's not any valid reasoning nor, as you like to put it: "proof".

      "In case of Turkey In General sense, it happened because non Turkish people were killed during hundreds of years...".

      Nonsense, lies even: you are trying to change the facts in order to adapt reality to your preconceptions: people just converted to Islam and learned Turkish because it was the fad of the day (and good for business). Then they taught that to their kids, sidelining their original culture and language as something mostly useless. I know that in first person: my family went through that process in the 20th century, naturally fascist repression and urban cosmopolitanism helped but it was mostly a conscious decision to leave behind what was not useful in their economic and socio-political reality, adopting instead what they could use. It's practical reasons what cause those changes because language and identity may have emotional components but mostly they are a tool.

      You know what? We humans have the gift of an extremely flexible brain: a brain that can adapt to reality, as it must, because that's how we learn, know and understand. And even how we get to love. Being cognitively stubborn about reality is just all kinds of wrong. Stubbornness or rather determination (probably not the same thing but closer) is best applied to creative thinking and action, not to learning and understanding. Intellectual stubbornness creates blind faith, dogma, not science.

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    5. "... massive difference of technology between the invaders and invaded are to be taken in account".

      Not necessary. Often just better organization is enough. Or didn't the Mongols conquer the "superior" Tanguts and Iranians? Technology and such are overvalued: some of the greatest feats of history depended not so much on technology but on good leadership. How did Napoleon take Toulon? By a technological change? Nope, by daring to move the cannons his predecessor already had into a position where they could take down the walls. How did Elkano completed the first circumnavigation of the world through seas infested of enemy Portuguese ships? By wits and daring. Heng Zhe had a much more impressive fleet, yet he never made anything similar. In fact China, for example, had not so long ago a clear technological advantage over the West, but they dilapidated it. Instead a small realm like Portugal was able not just to reach to the much fabled Indies but also to defeat the combined Egyptian-Venetian navy. Technological superiority? Nope: wits and daring. Similarly a century later Oman would defeat Portugal and take its place. All the technological superiority of the Archimedean school could not impede that Syracuse fell.

      I don't say that technology doesn't play a role but, as Chingis Khan showed in practice, engineers can be recruited, others' inventions can be incorporated to one's arsenal. But preparation, training, organization and genius... cannot be improvised. Nelson did not win Trafalgar because his navy was bigger, he did so because it was better trained and also because he was a military genius that was even willing to risk his own life in the most daring stratagems. Fire-ships? How's that "technology"?! It's great thinking! Double fire-rate? How's that technology? It's improved training!

      Charlemagne also had the upper hand in technology and numbers at Roncevaux. He still lost, exactly the same the French lost many centuries later at Dien Bien Phu. We don't even know the name of the Basque commanders who DARED to defeat the "invincible" Frankish army.

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    6. ''ndoeuropean macro-language do not need to be proven: they are a fact of linguistic reality.''
      I meant like IIr or B-S expansions are not be ever proved by your elite dominance, you are differing from facts, and to be true so far for example in case of Western Europe there seems to be a good amount of R1b migration from East , no linguistics have not proven such thing that you are referring.
      '' Obviously you are not looking at this problematic from a global level. ''
      Actually i am and also in practical sense, massive migration is a necessity .
      The Kurgan model is for frozen headed people, if something comes up and proves it then it will be a miracle.
      but you are making it even laughable with your dogma and elite dominance hogwash.
      Cultures change alright but in ancient times it was people in substantial manner who were required to bring those changes otherwise they would have ended like Mitannis in Near East or Brits in India.
      To be true, because you are so obsessed with M .Gimbutas's teachings that you are staying behind, you tell others that they are affected by dogma or pre-conceptions but its YOU who is most affected by it.
      I am leaving now, i will not spare you this time, i have enough of your bullshit so i think i may go all out, but i make a pause now.

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    7. "I meant like IIr or B-S expansions are not be ever proved by your elite dominance"...

      I don't understand what "IIr or B-S" may mean. I'm not trying to argue in any case that elite dominance was a single cause, just that it is clearly a proven cause of ethno-linguistic transformation in many other cases and may well be the case in this one or parts of it at the very least.

      "... in case of Western Europe there seems to be a good amount of R1b migration from East"...

      That hypothesis crashes with all the evidence I know of. Western European R1b (or at least its main subclade S116) seems to originate in Southern France and was almost certainly spread around in Bell Beaker times, as evidenced by its presence (along with modern-like mtDNA H frequencies) in East German BB samples.

      ... "massive migration is a necessity"...

      And where is it? Almost nowhere to be found. And it is not a necessity at all in any case: elite domination (which is apparent in so many historical cases) perfectly allows for ethno-linguistic transformation with nearly no genetic inflow.

      "The Kurgan model is for frozen headed people, if something comes up and proves it then it will be a miracle".

      The Kurgan model is well proven, within the reasonable limitations for a time when no written records exist, by archaeological evidence. But in any case there is no competing model anymore. If you think that the Kurgan model fails, please propose an alternative explanation. You may even want to start a blog dedicated to that instead of spamming other people's blogs with your thoughtless stubbornness.

      "Cultures change alright but in ancient times it was people in substantial manner who were required to bring those changes otherwise they would have ended like Mitannis in Near East or Brits in India".

      Actually the Brits in India succeeded in what affects our discussion: English is the main language of your country, or is it not? Typically, it should gradually replace all other languages slowly but steadily, much like (Vulgar) Latin did in much (but not all) the former Roman Empire, in a process still ongoing long after the Roman Empire collapsed and the derived languages are not anymore called "Latin". One of the main assets of the elites' language is that it becomes a lingua franca, so speaking it is growingly interesting for everyone.

      "I am leaving now, i will not spare you this time"....

      Well, thank you, sincerely.

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    8. ''The Kurgan model is well proven,''
      No the Kurgan model has great support, its not proven, it crashes in SC Asia also Armenia, Balkans even admitted by Haak et al this year early.
      The Only way it can be proven is by genetics which will show that there was a population influx which brought the SNPs the IE populations now carry and was absent in '' pre-IE'' times, that's their best and most direct chance that i totally admit.
      ''And where is it? Almost nowhere to be found. And it is not a necessity at all in any case: elite domination (which is apparent in so many historical cases) perfectly allows for ethno-linguistic transformation with nearly no genetic inflow. ''
      ha! the case is that you very well know that those elite type of invasions that you base your theories on can't produce the outcomes that is required in case of IE expansions, so we have to neglect archaeology, linguistics and sometimes genetic proof, and in case of W Europe its quite clear that IE folks came from the east just like in S India its clear that Brahmanism,Buddhism,Jainism came from the North.
      ''English is the main language of your country, or is it not?''
      Actually its Hindi and in South its the Dravidian ones, English is used when a person don't know these languages for example a S Indian will not know much Hindi so he have to rely mostly on English to talk to a N Indian etc and Vice Versa.
      '' it should gradually replace all other languages slowly but steadily, ''
      Not in the 1000's of years, the regional languages are actually thriving, the only trend that i'm seeing is that people are using English alphabets to write their own tongue like Bengali, Hindi.
      Even when Islam came that didn't change much at all, so if your elite dominance to proven as a fact in ancient times you have to show something extraordinary.
      In case of IE culture in India however, there is also substantial data to say that IVC had IE speakers, so in reality when you dig deep things go very problematic and ridiculous for your pet theory and not just I-A the whole IIr and some other branches show the unmistakable data that their expansion and existence is a result from a deeply rooted origin from their specific areas, not from any imaginary and lunatic type of invasions.
      The Model that i follow is Central Asia- S of Caspian for PIE, you already heard it from Giacomo and i am confident that genetic data from ancient remains will back it up.

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    9. This discussion looks like going nowhere: I talk of material prehistory and you talk ONLY of genetics (which is clearly of low relevance for me because of my conviction that elite dominance is possible). You tell me that the Kurgan model in the Balcans, for instance, is unproven (because of genetics?), when I know that there are lots of kurgans and associated findings and that it is undebatable that the Kurgan invasions radically changed the cultures in the region, and therefore their languages too almost certainly. There is also some genetic evidence anyhow, because obviously the Neolithic peoples of the area were much less steppe-shifted than modern Balcanic peoples, but that's not the "proof", just additional information.

      Another example: Baalberge culture is an unmistakably Kurgan culture and the one that is at the roots of Corded Ware, however the Baalberge ancient genetics so far appear unrelated, still in the EEF or {EEF+WHG} "pre-Kurgan" paradigm. What does this mean? That either the Baalberge sample is not representative or, much more probably, that the demographic change happened only along time and most probably centered in Cujawia rather than in the Saxonies. As I mentioned for the case of Latin America, that type of partial replacement seems to require sustained immigration not in just one generation (the "invasion" instance) but many, what in turn requires keeping relations with the motherland (the steppes in this case) and that those relations involve regular population exchange. That's what we see happening between Central Europe and Eastern Europe: not only steppe migrants arrive to Central Europe but people from the "colony" also migrates back to the "metropolis", altering the genetic landscape with "EEF" blood. The colonization did almost certainly not begin with Corded Ware but rather reached a peak with them, sadly we lack aDNA for most of the transitional process Baalberge →→ Corded Ware, and particularly from Cujawia, where the center was after the first phase.

      Is it worth explaining this to you? I doubt it because you don't want to really debate the archaeology. You have BELIEFS that won't budge by mere logic... and I'm not going to try using a sledge hammer.

      "you very well know that those elite type of invasions that you base your theories on can't produce the outcomes that is required in case of IE expansions"...

      Required by you? Sorry but I radically disagree with your notion of what is the requirement here. Invasions are not migrations. Migrations can happen without invasion, as we see every day in the news or historically in the Jewish or Roma migrations, whose impact was significant in some areas (more than 10% Jewish population in Central Europe before WWII, around 25% Roma population in countries like Romania), although admittedly they are more common to happen as consequence of previous invasions, as the elites may see convenient to call for reinforcements and establish colonies from the motherland. But most important here is that invasions only need of a sufficient military force, not masses of immigrants, and even that military force can be quite small in terms of actual immigrants, as we see in cases like the conquest of Mexico by Cortés (and many others), where the Castilians made up just a few hundred and most of the troops were actually rebelling natives. Such a tiny expedition was the most dramatic inflexion point in the history of Mexico and, even if it is probably an extreme case, we see many other similar ones in history.

      "... so we have to neglect archaeology, linguistics and sometimes genetic proof"...

      No, archaeology is fundamental in all I say, linguistics too (although is often undocumented for the periods and places under debate). Genetics however is not the main issue.

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    10. "Actually its Hindi and in South its the Dravidian ones, English is used when a person don't know these languages for example a S Indian will not know much Hindi so he have to rely mostly on English to talk to a N Indian etc and Vice Versa".

      Less than 50% of Indians speak Hindi/Urdu as native tongue. Some of the other major languages (Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Oriya) are not Dravidian but I doubt that they are mutually intelligible with Hindi (only Gujarati belongs to the same branch as Hindi). Similarly Dravidian languages are not mutually intelligible quite often. So people has to speak a lingua franca all the time, especially in urban areas. Sometimes that will be Hindi but English is a safer bet, because it is something that nearly everybody can speak, even if it is in the creole form sometimes called "Hinglish", which will probably produce a new fully formed language in the future (and that's how languages evolve often: by hybridization).

      You seem to belong to a Hindi-speaking cultural area but in my discussions with people from other nations of India, be them Dravidian or Bengali, they clearly note that English is the working language, although as of today almost never the mother language. And worse: in spite of my pleas about integration into the local culture, what implies learning the local language if you emigrate, they usually disdain such idea: English seems enough for them to live and work in modern India. So we see how "local" migration works not in favor of local languages but in favor of the convenient lingua franca: a Malayalam-speaker migrating to Hyderabad won't learn Telugu most likely but speak English instead. You won't notice that local migration in the genetic data because they don't come from England but from a nearby country, yet they are very actively enhancing the influence of English on a daily basis.

      "Even when Islam came that didn't change much at all"...

      It did in many other places: Egypt, the Fertile Crescent, NW Africa. But then of course it depends on how each country reacted to the elite domination: Persian survived and well enough. In the case of India it was not even the original Arab conquest but the Mughal one: a local affair. In other cases like Malaysia/Indonesia there was not even any invasion at all and in others the Muslim expansion relied on different languages than just Arabic, be it Turkish or Swahili. In some cases like Nubia/Sudan or Mauritania/West Sahara we see how the Arabic influence is not anymore related to the original homeland but to a secondary one (Egypt, NW Africa) and if we are going to find any sort of genetic evidence, it will be from those secondary centers of expansion, not Arabia.

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    11. "In case of IE culture in India however, there is also substantial data to say that IVC had IE speakers"...

      Almost certainly not before the Cemetery H late phase. Which is your "data"?

      "The Model that i follow is Central Asia- S of Caspian for PIE"?

      Central Asia south of Caspian? That thing does not exist: Central Asia is East of Caspian. I presume you mean Iran.

      Actually we do know what kind of languages were spoken in that area in ancient times (Elamite, Sumerian, Hurrian) and none of them shows the slightest sign of being Indoeuropean or even IE-related in any particular way. On the other hand Elamite is a very likely relative of Dravidian, in turn the most likely Indian Neolithic (and IVC later on) language family. The fact that Brahui are genetically indistinct from Balochi also adds up in favor of Dravidian being the main language family of Neolithic and Chalcolithic India (Pakistan included, of course).

      Your hypothesis does not seem to resist even the most basic analysis. You are not even bothering arguing it: you just state it and somehow assume we must all accept that conjecture without any archaeological evidence that could explain the process of IE expansion, and ignoring the linguistic evidence, notably the striking "Europeanness" of Indo-Iranian, which is much closer to European IE than to Anatolian or Tocharian branches, and which even has its own late Ugric influences, which must have occurred in the steppe, specifically in the Andronovo phase.

      Genetics won't fix anything of all this. Genetics, for example the S→N R1a flow, talks of a much older period than that of the Kurgan/IE expansion, probably Neolithic, maybe even Mesolithic. We don't know if those peoples spoke languages that might have been precursors of IE or something very different but it was not yet IE in any way, not PIE and definitely not Indo-Iranian.

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    12. ''No, archaeology is fundamental in all I say, linguistics too (although is often undocumented for the periods and places under debate).''
      I totally agree and that's what i follow.
      But you seem to undermine the Genetics, perhaps you think the aboriginal population remained largely similar genetic wise after IE migrations which i don't think is practical.
      ''they clearly note that English is the working language, although as of today almost never the mother language. And worse: in spite of my pleas about integration into the local culture, what implies learning the local language if you emigrate, they usually disdain such idea: English seems enough for them to live and work in modern India''
      Yes but by this English will never be a replacing language ever, the can be used as a linking language as it is world wide, but that never mean it will replace the native tongues, not in the next 3000 Years or more.
      ''It did in many other places:''
      That's not relevant, it the Islamic invasion that has the similar implications that you want to see in case of yours ''Aryan Domination'' for example in India, only that it never gives the evidence or demonstration of such happenings in the remote past, it disproves it! also the Brit one.
      ''Central Asia south of Caspian? That thing does not exist: Central Asia is East of Caspian. I presume you mean Iran.

      Actually we do know what kind of languages were spoken in that area in ancient times (Elamite, Sumerian, Hurrian) and none of them shows the slightest sign of being Indoeuropean or even IE-related in any particular way.''
      S Caspian and Central Asia had a chain of archaeological cultures which shows evidence of existence of a same Linguistic network, and of Course Languages like Sumerian, Hurro-Urartian and even Caucasian in some notable degree show strong correspondence with IE, if you think that's hogwash then come and take look at Giacomo's blog or discuss that's all we want and welcome! skeptic people having a good debate!, that's why when you say
      ''Your hypothesis does not seem to resist even the most basic analysis. You are not even bothering arguing it: ''
      Why should i repeat whats already suggested and shown in scientific manner? there is Archaeology, Linguistics, Anthropology and also Genetics, if you disagree let us know and discuss b.
      The Europeaness of Indo-Iranians seriously? based on what Linguistics? or Textual Evidence? all actually indicate the reverse! specially in case of Balto-Slavic, about Andronovo well its Pre-Scythian at best and Indo-Iranian is a different dish...
      Archaeology fails the Steppe theory in case of Aryan invasion of SC Asia, for example of comprehensive details of reality, you need to read the works of this Archaeologist-
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B._B._Lal#Works
      or in case of IIr in whole scale this one you know very well-
      http://new-indology.blogspot.in/2013/02/indo-iranians-new-perspectives.html


      Delete
    13. Genetics, for example the S→N R1a flow, talks of a much older period than that of the Kurgan/IE expansion, probably Neolithic, maybe even Mesolithic. We don't know if those peoples spoke languages that might have been precursors of IE or something very different but it was not yet IE in any way, not PIE and definitely not Indo-Iranian.
      I agree that Genes don't speak languages or even Archaeological remains of course!, but for example in case of R1a its mostly the M-417+ mutations which are relevant and latest sequencing show that it belongs to a period of around chalcolithic,
      http://yfull.com/tree/R-M417/
      And from Archaeological observations for example the cultures which were associated with IE Folks like CWC, Sintashta show it in almost major manner, which indicates that its a good suggestion to link it with PIE folks, so this supportive trend now makes it very important to see if folks of Sindhu-Sarasvati Civilization had it or not with of course folks of BMAC, Jeitun etc also! Archaeologically SSC (IVC) BMAC and Jeitun etc are very suggestive to belong to IE Culture, only because it speaks against the Kurgan Model, the indications which are strong are so far mostly neglected, but a person with unbiased scientific attitude will see what i'm talking about.
      In case of Balkans i have to study a bit and if archaeology approves i have no problems but of course will wait for aDNA from there BTW, On Armenia well i think Aram has given some good points-
      http://aramepal.blogspot.in/2015/04/why-balcanic-theory-of-armenian-origins.html
      After seeing them and reading his referred papers of expert people, i'm convinced that the Armenian Invasion of Armenia in 1200 BC is totally ridiculous.

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    14. Less than 50% of Indians speak Hindi/Urdu as native tongue. Some of the other major languages (Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Oriya) are not Dravidian but I doubt that they are mutually intelligible with Hindi (only Gujarati belongs to the same branch as Hindi). Similarly Dravidian languages are not mutually intelligible quite often
      From Personal direct experience, i tell you that Hindi is the language that connects people of North India by keeping aside their states tongue, English is mostly spoken by highly educated people with notable mixture of Hindi words, In South India i think the trend is similar except they don't speak Hindi much.

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    15. At risk of going circular, I'll reply to you by sections.

      LINGUISTICS:

      English vs Hindi: If what you say is correct (and I have no reason to doubt your personal experience), then the English Raj failed at linguist replacement and instead a local widespread and prestigious language (Hindi) is the major beneficiary. Let's look at Nigeria instead?

      This is more common than you seem to think. The Goths, Franks, Burgundians, etc. also failed to replace Latin in most or the Western Roman Empire, the Arabs failed to replace Persian (but not Coptic, Aramaic, Berber or Nubian), the Tanguts, Mongols, Manchus, etc. all failed to replace Chinese, etc. There is no absolute rule that necessarily implies that conquest will produce linguistic replacement. However it is a tendency in many cases also well documented: Arab, Latin, Greek, Turkic, Germanic, Slavic, Magyar... are all examples of expansions that, at least in many cases (but not in others), triggered linguistic replacement without obvious mass replacement. Naturally that also happened in prehistory, even more easily because of lack of literacy or low levels of such (literary prestige, in a very practical way of running a bureaucracy and working as lingua franca, seems to be the best line of defense of a language vs elite domination after the invasion has succeeded).

      You may think you have a "definitive argument" in the exceptions but in all those processes are cases that do follow the elite domination pattern, as well as others where the elites end up using, and eventually adopting, a local prestigious language instead. And also mixed situations too, such as the use of Greek and Aramaic in the ancient Levant.

      I presume that lack of literacy (or low level of it), as well as repeated invasions from the same origin in many cases, helped the consolidation of the elite's language. Other cause may well be the importance of the warrior class in those periods, which would also add up to the prestige of their language. Finally religion may have helped in some cases as well: probably the compilation of the Vedic scriptures was a major step in the consolidation of Sanskrit as dominant language in North India, much as the Koran was in relation to Arabic and maybe other oral practices may have helped with other illiterate cases.

      You mention the case of the Muslim invasion of India. But a problem is that this is actually two invasions: first one, mostly failed, in the Umayyad period, and then, another much more successful which had no direct relation with Arabs but was based in Afghanistan initially. So what we have is local Indo-Iranian (and more rarely Turkic) speaking tribes invading India, speaking a bewildering array of illiterate languages, mostly unable to speak Arabic (even if this was their religious language) and having to rule over masses that were refractory to their power and had their own literary tradition. The case compares well with the steppe invasions of China: the chances of imposition of the language by elite dominance were pretty slim. Maybe if they had tried harder but it seems that language was not high in their priorities.

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    16. GENETICS:

      "But you seem to undermine the Genetics, perhaps you think the aboriginal population remained largely similar genetic wise after IE migrations which i don't think is practical".

      We clearly disagree. There are many examples, like the recently discussed Slavic migration to the Balcans, in which the genetic impact is clearly tiny, almost invisible, but the identitarian and linguistic one is massive instead. What you "think" (stubbornly adhere to in a dogmatic way) is not relevant unless you can prove me wrong. And you cannot because the examples that support my case are many (others: Hungary, Egypt, NW Africa, Sudan, Turkey, Azerbaijan...) We can agree that there is no "iron rule" that necessarily obliges to elite domination linguistic replacement, that there are many exceptions too (although in all cases it seems directly related to the existence of a conveniently prestigious and literate local tongue that is indeed a "practical" alternative). But once we allow for exceptions to the "iron rule", then it seems apparent that it happens at least quite often and also that, without the counter-power of scribe literacy, it seems more difficult for that exceptional outcome to happen.

      And again somehow we are discussing linguistics rather than actual genetics.

      "I agree that Genes don't speak languages"...

      Good!

      "... or even Archaeological remains of course!"

      Archaeological remains often allow to distinguish cultural identity and that is much more closely related to language (a cultural feature) than to genes. So I have to disagree with that assessment.


      "... but for example in case of R1a its mostly the M-417+ mutations which are relevant and latest sequencing show that it belongs to a period of around chalcolithic,
      http://yfull.com/tree/R-M417/"

      I have no particular reason to believe that Y-full's guesstimates are more correct than a random guess by a random person I could ask in the street. The calibrated estimate mentioned in Underhill 2015 suggests a date around the early Neolithic and a calibrated estimate is by definition much better than a "pedigree rate" guesstimate.

      A clear sign that they are way off is that their age(CF)=68 Ka BP, what is way too recent (should be at least 80 Ka, probably c. 100 Ka).

      In any case there must always be doubt re. age estimates because there is no known good method and it may be impossible to actually provide accurate dates unless nearby calibration points based on aDNA are available... and used. I hate to have to reply to pseudoscientific "logic" based only on "molecular clock" hunches, which are no "evidence" of anything at all, particularly when people insist on referencing Y-Full, which is clearly way off the mark (E1b-V13 could not have been part of the European Neolithic expansion with their guesstimate for example, yet we know for a fact that it was there).

      Re. Armenians: they definitely have European-derived R1b sublineages (just look at the detail of studies like Balaresque's) in greater frequency than Turks. Of course the bulk of Armenian ancestry is local but there is good reason to think that there was in fact a Phrygian colonization drive as reported by ancient historians and that it was this process what transformed Bronze Age Urarteans (Hurrian speakers and the main ancestors of modern Armenians) into Iron Age Armenians. What should be clear to anyone is that there were no Armenian speakers in the area before the Iron Age: they were Urarteans. Similarly there were no Kurdish (Medic?) speakers yet: they were Hurrians.

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    17. ARCHAEOLOGY:

      "And from Archaeological observations for example the cultures which were associated with IE Folks like CWC, Sintashta show it in almost major manner, which indicates that its a good suggestion to link it with PIE folks, so this supportive trend now makes it very important to see if folks of Sindhu-Sarasvati Civilization had it or not with of course folks of BMAC, Jeitun etc also! Archaeologically SSC (IVC) BMAC and Jeitun etc are very suggestive to belong to IE Culture, only because it speaks against the Kurgan Model, the indications which are strong are so far mostly neglected, but a person with unbiased scientific attitude will see what i'm talking about".

      No matter how hard I try what you say in your nearly only paragraph dedicated to the main issue, which is archaeology, I only see incomprehensible gibberish, sorry. Can you clarify? I will gladly and preferably discuss these matters, because they are the central issue.

      In any case it seems you are:

      1. Focused on the particular case of Indo-Aryan conquest (or in your opinion absence of it).

      2. Not discussing Cemetery H and all it implies in the sense of violent cultural change in late IVC (and cultural change can mean linguistic change).

      3. Still beating the dead horse of BMAC. I believe we have already discussed that several times at Giaccomo's blog and it is apparent that BMAC was not core Indo-Aryan or Indo-Iranian but also Indoeuropeanized at some point.

      Even if it's not archaeology but rather genetics (but I forgot to mention above), I think you should give a good thought at the issue of Brahui genetic identity with Baloch. That's the real genetic keystone that demonstrates beyond any reasonable doubt that Dravidian has been spoken continuously in Pakistan since times immemorial, almost certainly since the Neolithic. Balochistan is to Indian Neolithic what Greece is to the European one: the origin. Dravidian can be related with Elamite via the Neolithic, which has Iranian (Elamite, not yet Indo-Iranian) roots. You never discuss the origins of Dravidian, BTW.

      And that's why I feel in an endless circular discussion, which can only end with a "nuff said": you always fall back to your line of logical trenches, many of which are not the first time we discuss, not at all. So unless you have new interesting information I beg you to spare me. My time is not free for you to use and abuse.

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    18. LINGUISTICS.
      What you fail to understand that Aryan Invasion require a unnatural language wash out which is quite impossible and totally retarded if imply ''Elite Domination'' which creates hybrid languages at best, In Giacoms blog you failed to give the reasons of why a Language which existed for 1000's of years will suddenly disappear without a trace! and
      Brahui Migrated from S India around 1000 AD that's a thing accepted by most of the Linguists and i think this is also discussed there in Giacomos blog in which you also failed!.
      ARCHAEOLOGY
      BTW If we follow Archaeology Aryan textual evidence , we find that they were part of the SSC/IVC, there are tons of works backing that up, here a short one for example.
      http://www.indologica.com/volumes/vol31/07_Lal.pdf
      And on Cemetery H its quite clear that its of local derivation with no outside trail, about violence in that period, it was a result of Climatic catastrophe not any invasion! actually Ancient texts have records of that time! the Harappans were slowly moving south and east taking the IE language with them.
      BMAC : No you are mistaken , in the blog he showed that it was apart of the Indo-Iranian horizon which sprang from the previous Neolithic precursors, he also showed that Sites like Arkaim, Sintashta has structural origins from BMAC! not vice versa etc etc, but it seems you tend to forget what actually happened, not your fault, you are getting old ;).

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    19. GENETICS
      ''Archaeological remains often allow to distinguish cultural identity and that is much more closely related to language (a cultural feature) than to genes. So I have to disagree with that assessment. ''
      Of course but if Archaeology shows continuity but Genes from the same period show influxes etc, then its Genes we have to take into consideration rather than Archaeology,
      ''I have no particular reason to believe that Y-full's guesstimates are more correct than a random guess by a random person I could ask in the street. The calibrated estimate mentioned in Underhill 2015 suggests a date around the early Neolithic and a calibrated estimate is by definition much better than a "pedigree rate" guesstimate.''
      You are making a mistake Y-Full is recommended by everyone because of its high resolution sequencing, though in case of SNP dates aDNA has the final authority.
      ''Armenians: they definitely have European-derived R1b sublineages (just look at the detail of studies like Balaresque's) in greater frequency than Turks. Of course the bulk of Armenian ancestry is local but there is good reason to think that there was in fact a Phrygian colonization drive as reported by ancient historians and that it was this process what transformed Bronze Age Urarteans (Hurrian speakers and the main ancestors of modern Armenians) into Iron Age Armenians. What should be clear to anyone is that there were no Armenian speakers in the area before the Iron Age: they were Urarteans. Similarly there were no Kurdish (Medic?) speakers yet: they were Hurrians.''
      No you are wrong here, please read the researches of Arams blog, there was no invasion around 1200 BC, Armenians came from East and Urartian with also Hurrian have IE affinity, as i have said earlier, i'm working on PIE-Hurro-Urartian cognates, will let you know when completed :).
      Similarly i tell you that my ''beliefs'' are based on observations, facts and a scientific attitude.

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    20. "Brahui Migrated from S India around 1000 AD"...

      That's simply impossible: where's the genetic trail? Brahui's are just identical to their neighbors and worse: their presence in the mountains suggests that they are a remnant not new arrivals (mountains are refuges).

      LINGUISTICS

      "In Giacoms blog you failed to give the reasons of why a Language which existed for 1000's of years will suddenly disappear without a trace"...

      I do not understand the problem, it seems like you just don't do your homework: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Substratum_in_Vedic_Sanskrit

      The only doubt is whether the substrate language was Dravidian or Burushashki (or both), as they share those features. I'm not going to get drawn to a very TIME-CONSUMING linguistic research of INDIAN peculiarities. Remember that this entry is after all about ancient plague evidence and NOT IN INDIA. We are going (thanks to your single-minded obsession) totally OFF TOPIC.

      Also less arguing and more researching the positions of people who, quite reasonably, disagree with you. Less talking and more working!

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    21. ARCHEOLOGY

      "And on Cemetery H its quite clear that its of local derivation with no outside trail"...

      Well, nope: it has clear Swat or Gandhara grave culture elements. Obviously both show a great deal of continuity and we even see in Mittani aDNA (mtDNA) that these warrior elites carried South Asian genetics. Nobody (at least not I) claims for biological replacement but rather for elite conquest. But they also show a great deal of exchange with Central Asia, even before their establishment as such newly defined cultures.

      These cultures are at the very least a very PLAUSIBLE explanation for the otherwise unexplained arrival of Indoeuropean to the region, an Indoeuropean branch that shows unique European and Ugrian affinities (in language, not genetics) in comparison to other older Asian branches of the same family.

      "BMAC : No you are mistaken , in the blog he showed that it was apart of the Indo-Iranian horizon which sprang from the previous Neolithic precursors"...

      No, I'm not mistaken: BMAC is a local pre-IE culture in its initial phases but eventually shows clear signs of falling under the influence of Andronovo-related IE culture, while still retaining its distinctiveness. The influence of Andronovo in late BMAC (Tazabagyab culture) since c. 2000 BCE is very much unmistakable.

      "Sintashta has structural origins from BMAC!"

      I know they had trade relations but I'm unaware of such "structural origins", which are in turn thought to be from Poltavka, which in turn is derived from Yamna, although with influences from Western-derived offshoots like Abashevo (what surely explains the extra European affinity of the Indo-Iranian branch in comparison with the older Asian branches of IE: Tocharian and Anatolian).

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    22. GENETICS:

      Y-Full's full sequence is relatively useless if they are using the wrong calibration/rate (assuming that there is a "molecular clock" after all, something I find problemantic). When we recalibrate age(CF) to make it 100 Ka old, it seems apparent that (assuming everything else is correct and linearly extrapolable) 50% must be added to every age. That might work.

      "... if Archaeology shows continuity but Genes from the same period show influxes etc, then its Genes we have to take into consideration rather than Archaeology"...

      Can you suggest a practical case? I can't think of any that is particularly useful right now and anyhow, when I try to do that in the context of Europe with elements like modern-like mtDNA pools or the LCT+ allele, I find all kinds of resistances.

      "... please read the researches of Arams blog"...

      LOL, I did. I saw no "research" of relevance, just pontification. Armenians are typical Anatolio-Caucasians, except that they have some Y-DNA that is clearly of European derivation.

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    23. ''That's simply impossible: where's the genetic trail?''
      Actually simply quite possible, they arrived quite late and they were isolated there, tell me what happens when a group comes from some where else and gets isolated? DRIFT!!,anyway,
      They postulate, that Brahui could only have migrated to Balochistan from central India after 1000 CE. The absence of any older Iranian (Avestan) loanwords in Brahui supports this hypothesis. The main Iranian contributor to Brahui vocabulary, Balochi, is a Northwestern Iranian language, and moved to the area from the west only around 1000 CE.[12] One scholar places the migration аs late as the 13th or 14th century.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahui_language#History
      ''I do not understand the problem, it seems like you just don't do your homework: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Substratum_in_Vedic_Sanskrit''
      Actually i give people homework on that and teach them the issue! the substratum is first not an indicator of time of IE Arrival, which most likely happened at least in Chalcolithic and secondly its bit exaggerated, there is not a single Dravidian word in Rigveda! and the closest one is ''MIna'' Fish but even that word belongs to Indo-European origin!.
      http://starling.rinet.ru/cgi-bin/response.cgi?root=config&morpho=0&basename=%5Cdata%5Cie%5Cpiet&first=1&off=&text_proto=&method_proto=substring&ic_proto=on&text_meaning=&method_meaning=substring&ic_meaning=on&text_hitt=&method_hitt=substring&ic_hitt=on&text_tokh=&method_tokh=substring&ic_tokh=on&text_ind=&method_ind=substring&ic_ind=on&text_avest=&method_avest=substring&ic_avest=on&text_iran=&method_iran=substring&ic_iran=on&text_arm=&method_arm=substring&ic_arm=on&text_greek=&method_greek=substring&ic_greek=on&text_slav=&method_slav=substring&ic_slav=on&text_balt=&method_balt=substring&ic_balt=on&text_germ=&method_germ=substring&ic_germ=on&text_lat=&method_lat=substring&ic_lat=on&text_ital=&method_ital=substring&ic_ital=on&text_celt=&method_celt=substring&ic_celt=on&text_alb=&method_alb=substring&ic_alb=on&text_rusmean=&method_rusmean=substring&ic_rusmean=on&text_refer=&method_refer=substring&ic_refer=on&text_comment=&method_comment=substring&ic_comment=on&text_any=*men%C7%9D%28w&method_any=substring&sort=proto&ic_any=on
      The other developments are easily described as internal developments rather than any substratum influence! like a bit shown here.
      https://manasataramgini.wordpress.com/2008/05/15/cerebrals-or-retroflexes-in-indo-aryan/
      I'm giving you references after after references but all you see that i'm arguing without any research? really?.

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    24. Well, nope: it has clear Swat or Gandhara grave culture elements. Obviously both show a great deal of continuity and we even see in Mittani aDNA (mtDNA) that these warrior elites carried South Asian genetics. Nobody (at least not I) claims for biological replacement but rather for elite conquest. But they also show a great deal of exchange with Central Asia, even before their establishment as such newly defined cultures.
      Absolutely ridiculous, First on Swat, you can see here.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gandhara_grave_culture#Cultural_continuity
      and Cemetery H was developed internally inside Indus with no outside trail,
      Your works and assumptions were also discarded elsewhere long ago, i think you kept a blind eye on that too-
      http://virginiahighlander.blogspot.in/
      ''Indoeuropean branch that shows unique European and Ugrian affinities (in language, not genetics) in comparison to other older Asian branches of the same family. ''
      Well IE shows great amount of Sumerian, Hurro-Urartian and even Caucasian affinities, Aryan OTOH gave some loanwords to Uralic which probably is related to the BMAC migration to Sintashta area, the basic correspondences which are argued are also found on those language groups, i'm not saying Uralic affinities are non-existing as i'm not blind though its bit hyped to be true, but also i don't neglect the existing strong linguistic affinities of PIE with Sumerian,H-U,Caucasian,Semetic, which are carefully neglected for the sake of Kurgan Hypothesis.
      ''I know they had trade relations but I'm unaware of such "structural origins",''
      Well obviously you didn't read Giacomos research article on Indo-Iranians as all is described there, you actually went straightaway with Trash and vulgar talking there if i remember correctly , Sintashta is an outlier, which had SC Asian and also Anatolian contribution, read that article carefully again first...

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    26. Y-Full's full sequence is relatively useless if they are using the wrong calibration/rate (assuming that there is a "molecular clock" after all, something I find problemantic). When we recalibrate age(CF) to make it 100 Ka old, it seems apparent that (assuming everything else is correct and linearly extrapolable) 50% must be added to every age. That might wo
      I think you are not thinking that correctly unless aDNA proves otherwise, we should rely on those calculations at the absence of aDNA ,though i also somewhat agree with you also of course!.
      ''LOL, I did. I saw no "research" of relevance, just pontification. Armenians are typical Anatolio-Caucasians, except that they have some Y-DNA that is clearly of European derivation.''
      He gave papers and links read them, there was no ''Balcan Invasion'' around 1200 BC, Yes the R1b shows European origin but all evidence suggest there that it actually perhaps came from East! YES!!, to know what i'm talking about you have to discuss with him :).
      BTW here i sign off , you are a daunting man to debate with ;)....

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    27. Well, I don't feel like persecuting this discussion anymore, being so extremely off topic. Write a blog, seriously: it seems you have A LOT to say.

      Delete
    28. Maju, I need to contact you, i have several proposals for you but need to contact personally, can you please give your mail in my blog? i will not publish of course :).

      Delete
    29. An on the Topic, yes, My Friend Postneo, pointed that the research paper ''says a couple of high virulence mutations are lacking in these early strains. These developed after the late bronze age''
      also ''It's not just the flea mutation. The immune system of the host would have a better shot at fighting back till the flagella expression was suppressed. It seems these mutations became fixed at 97 % in a very short time in the late bronze''
      I think those are quite solid points, whats your opinion?.

      Delete
    30. My email is publicly available in my Blogger profile, just remove the "DELETETHIS" anti-spambot protection.

      BTW, until now I didn't know you had a blog. My bad.

      "I think those are quite solid points, whats your opinion?"

      That I don't understand enough to have one. Is he saying that there is evidence in this study suggesting an ongoing evolution of the plague bacterium within the period studied?

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    31. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    32. Ok, i will try :).
      I think i should give you the the full conversation (of just three comments btw):
      postneo said...
      http://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(15)01322-7
      says a couple of high virulence mutations are lacking in these early strains. These developed after the late bronze age
      Karl_K said...
      @postneo

      These bacteria lack the flea associated genes. So they could only be spread by mammal to mammal contact. But this does not mean that they were any less deadly. It spreads through direct contact, but will kill people 90% of the time anyway.

      The flea transmission was a killer in later cities, where large domestic animals were at a distance.

      This could have been just as deadly when everyone lived in very close proximity to herds of mammals.
      postneo said...
      @kk

      It's not just the flea mutation. The immune system of the host would have a better shot at fighting back till the flagella expression was suppressed. It seems these mutations became fixed at 97 % in a very short time in the late bronze (age)
      http://eurogenes.blogspot.in/2015/10/plague-germs-may-have-facilitated.html
      I know you ask not to bring other blogs discussions here, but i thought its relevant this time :)..
      Cheers...

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    33. I don't have any particular problem with reflecting here discussions from other sources, including blogs, as long as they are relevant and the source is not abhorrent (a nazi site, for example). You must have misunderstood me, if I ever said something that may sound like what you say.

      As for what Postneo says, I think it may be very relevant, particularly because it seems to imply that people could survive more easily the bacterium back in those days, but I still need to find the relevant paragraphs in the original paper.

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    34. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    35. Onur: you know that my problem with you is that you are prone to use racial language that others may find offensive and certainly unnecessary and that you stubbornly reject to change your pattern of behavior even when someone (and critically myself) insistently demands a change.

      I cannot unban you unless you change your attitude what you repeatedly rejected on alleged "scientific language" blah-blah.

      Hence, for consistency, I have to delete you comment no matter how relevant is.

      A ban is a ban is a ban.

      Only a change in the attitude leading to a ban can revoke it.

      In other cases it is a matter of personality (typically the "wanting to be always right and posting continuosly because: me right, you wrong" syndrome, what I call the "brainy troll") and that cannot be undone, that's a problem for a psychiatrist, not me nor my readers.

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    36. On the English/Hindi thing, I'd point out that English is the official language of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Meghalaya, and co-official in Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur and West Bengal. Of those states, only Himachal Pradesh also has Hindi as an official language. So it seems to depend a lot on your proximity to the Hindi belt. English is probably better described as a superstrate in India IMHO though.

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  3. Maju, I absolutely agree that there is a modern plague of moral absolution! European archaeology will gravitate towards the softest landing possible.

    You've brought up a point that I really haven't see discussed regarding the EBA transition, and that is the re-organization of the social contract as a result of population reduction, as you mention regarding the black death.

    In many ways the preconditions and the trends of the EBA seem similar to the Renaissance, whatever the cause of the depopulation.

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    Replies
    1. "You've brought up a point that I really haven't see discussed regarding the EBA transition, and that is the re-organization of the social contract as a result of population reduction, as you mention regarding the black death".

      You don't see it often discussed when dealing with the Late Middle Age either. Many narratives, popular in the mass media and probably in many schools as well, are just focused on the allegedly massive mortality and at most hint at the possibility (never confirmed AFAIK) of some sort of biological selection being active. But, taken seriously, the Black Death gives us an excellent window on what happens when an epidemic kills so many, and the main immediate impact, once the corpses are buried and the panic subsidies, is that the survivors find themselves with better opportunities to live on their work, now suddenly a scarce good, and therefore with worse opportunities (for the elites) to live on the work of others, what is always based on some sort of threat, typically extreme poverty and the associated vital hopelessness (homelessness, etc.)

      I'd like if you could expand on why you think that the Bronze Age is similar to the Renaissance particularly. I do see a general similitude of the social systems between the advanced Chalcolithic and that period (aristocracies, growing class differences) but specifically between those two periods? I'm a bit amiss.

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  4. Well, not necessarily strong correspondence between the two periods since they are apples and oranges, but how population reduction has the potential to bring social change is what I'm latching on to.

    I think there are some similar outcomes that if looked at as an economic question, make some sense. Individualism could be the byproduct of 'people scarcity' which may be relative from society to society. If there is a great reduction in people, the idea of self-worth or self-importance may emerge. Both periods have a steep expression of individualism.

    The importance of land ownership* diminishes some in both periods IMO (this is probably too long of a subject to squeeze in). Land becomes increasingly valuable as a population increases and so the society is obsessed with partitioning, hoarding and titling land. (This is the Feudal period in a nutshell)
    In the Neolithic Megalithic, I go off the hypothesis that monumentalism of ancestral homes and tombs is an imprint on land owned by Neolithics who are above all else concerning with maintaining or expanding their clan farmland.) It seems wealth and emphasis shifts from being centrally concerned with land and production to other endeavors, like trade and craft.
    It's harder to compare class structure between the two since they're so far removed.

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    1. Honestly, I'm not sure what specific context you have in mind. The Bronze Age saw some of the most important political formation of all times: from Egypt to El Argar, from the Hittites to Mycenae and Troy, it seems to be a period of development of monarchies and growingly stratified societies. Even in Central Europe we see the development towards what may be tentatively described as "imperial horde" in the Tumuli and Urnfield cultures.

      Of course it a long period (about a millennium in most places) and you may be thinking in some specific areas, maybe Atlantic Europe?

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  5. Using modern China as an example, if the population was reduced by half with no other considerations present (like one child policy), I this would have a bigger impact than just wages.

    But let me turnto the formation of aristocracy as you mentioned. I would add that the institutionalism and reliance on slavery began in this period. One economic theory hypothesizes when labor rates rise too high (land to labor ratio) slavery often emerges or has in modern times (America, Russia) and will extinguish itself when labor costs are very low (late colonial Mexico).

    Assuming all those populations were decimated (which I'm not convinced of yet) it could have manifest itself in the BA

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    1. The real problem seems to be that you are somehow assuming that there was a demographic collapse in the Bronze Age but I don't see the evidence for that. In this study we only get an array of local dates in parts of Eurasia for plague epidemics: we don't know which was their demographic impact (no archaeological data) and anyhow the dates are very diverse, most are from the Chalcolithic, one from the Bronze Age (Altai) and one (Azerbaijan) even borderline with the Iron Age and possibly associated with the quite dramatic and somewhat mysterious Bronze Age collapse in the Eastern Mediterranean. Only in the case of Lesser Poland we can make a tentative association of the reported plague outburst and a documented demographic decline. We can, if you wish, assume that it also happened in all the other cases of plague outbursts but they each belongs to a different time and geography, so I find impossible to make generalizations of any sort.

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    2. There was a reduction at the end of the Neolithic in most of Europe (not all at the same time), however I don't about the other regions mentioned. Personally, I don't see any evidence for population reduction from the plague specifically, at least not yet.

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  6. I just wanted to add that while I'm skeptical of this paper in particular, I don't think it's whitewashing to talk about the role disease played in the "success" of European colonialism. It's pretty important to indigenous peoples' discourse. Their ancestors weren't incompetent or weak for failing to effectively resist colonialism. The introduction of European diseases and firearms had completely disrupted their existing political structures. That's not an excuse for anything Europeans did (including deliberately spreading said diseases and firearms). It is I feel a pretty valid excuse for indigenous leaders at the time.

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    1. I don't see it that way: invaders clearly took advantage of rebellions and civil wars, allying with some against the other. That is at least the case in the conquests of the Aztec and Inca Empire. Also, once conquered those empires were more easily subject to Castilian authority by means of partly reproducing the pre-existent domination methods of these two empires. Another story is where there were no empires, for example among the Mayas (who somehow had gotten rid of their rulers centuries earlier), and where conquest was therefore much slower and never fully consolidated (500 years later the conflict is still ongoing in various forms, including often armed rebellion). All these examples refer to where agriculture was intense, and therefore could keep high population densities, something that allowed for the persistence of Native blood more easily, be it as truly Native communities or within the assimilated Mestizo ones.

      In North America even, the Native nations were much more resilient than you see to acknowledge. 150 years ago the Eastern USA was full of them, however they were forcibly relocated, in what is a true genocide on its own right, to Oklahoma. Sure: epidemics, sometimes actively induced in true genocidal acts, played a role but military enforcement (including brutal massacres) and demographic pressure (aided by Industrial era unprecedented mobility) were the true drivers of the overall genocide.

      In the Caribbean, which was the first region to suffer the impact of European colonialism, the destruction of the Indigenous nations was mostly driven by military domination an forced slavery. Slavery was the real destructor of the nations, as the De las Casas report clearly underlines. Of course, repeated waves of colonization, often of forced migrants such as African slaves or Canarian forced settlers (which in turn aided to the genocide of the Guanches in the African archipelago and their replacement by a growingly European population) also helped. Epidemics are no doubt an extra but they alone could not wipe entire nations, in many cases not even the whole imperial might could, and many nations still survive.

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    2. I think that excusing behind epidemics is not valid. Indigenous nations were divided and colonial powers played with that, as well as with all other tools in their hands (military, settlers, alcohol, religion and diseases). Many Native leaders and nations fought bravely but they could not win in technological and demographic disadvantage: they were fighting in what were basically Copper Age conditions against some of the mightiest powers of proto-industrial Earth. Nobody can win in such circumstances.

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    3. I don't disagree with any of that (and there examples of outright genocide in Canadian history too), but what I'm getting at is that much of that political disunity that Europeans exploited was created, or at least worsened, through the spread of disease and fire arms. If one group loses 2/3 of its population to small pox and the measles, it creates a power vaccuum for its neighbours to exploit. And those neighbours had a much easier time of it if they themselves had managed to acquire European firearms. I'm thinking of the Huron in particular as a good example of this, though there was a pretty huge surge in inter-tribal warfare throughout northern North America in response to the fur trade and the spread of firearms and disease that came with it.

      In the case of Mesoamerica, I don't think disease had much to do with the fall of the Aztec Empire, but it certainly had a lot to do with the lack of effective resistance afterwards. In the case of the Maya, the introduction of malaria was absolutely devastating to the population and immediately preceded the final conquest. Not to mention the Inca, where death to European diseases is what created the succession crisis that led to a civil war and then Spanish conquest.

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    4. You seem to have a quite nuanced understanding of American history, so who am I to argue. I just meant that it's not the typical "Guns, Germs and Roses" over-simplistic interpretation. Division particularly is a constant of Human History and a very difficult problem to address successfully. That's how slightly bigger and slightly better organized entities almost invariably win.

      The main exception has been in the latest century or so, popular revolution, which have been able to overcome such hostile odds often, armed usually with communist ideology and guerrilla tactics, but even such actions took place within one ethnicity or nation and almost never across such sociological borders. Ethnic divisions are very natural but they accumulate tensions with neighbors that third parties are often keen to exploit in their advantage. Changing such relations may happen but needs time and when a much more advanced civilization falls upon you almost overnight, you just don't have that time.

      Even without that technological difference, just look at the Gallic Wars, or the Phoenician-Roman conquest of Iberia: divided tribes could resist heroically but never win. There were no germs and no technological difference of relevance. It was a matter of size and organization.

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    5. "You seem to have a quite nuanced understanding of American history, so who am I to argue." I don't know about that, but sure lol. I definitely agree that Guns, Germs and Steel is overly simplistic. I just think

      Re: Gallic Wars and the conquest of Iberia - correct me if I'm wrong here, but I don't believe either of those cases involved large scale demographic turnover, did it? Just elite dominance.

      I don't think the Aztecs or Incas lacked for size and organization though, at least before contact. Not enough to stop the European advance, but perhaps enough to stall it. That's all.

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    6. I was thinking on the CONQUEST aspect rather than on the REPLACEMENT one, which actually could never happen without previous conquest. Back to America, in some cases, notably where farmer populations were dense, it did not happen at all or was only partial, needing many many generations (and the 19th century industrial pulse was decisive). This does not just apply to Mexico or Bolivia but also to the USA, where Natives persisted in important numbers until well after the US independence and only active genocide policies could uproot them. The Trail of Tears and active discrimination were (and are even today) much more important than small pox, whose effectiveness gets exhausted after a while, allowing immunized populations to recover... unless other curses fall upon them at the same time. Those curses are normally people armed with guns and laws, foreign guns and foreign laws pointed against them.

      "I don't think the Aztecs or Incas lacked for size and organization though, at least before contact".

      Obviously they were the most powerful states in their context, a Copper Age context. When people from outside with Gunpowder Age weapons and a total disregard for what they perceived as primitive heathen barbarism arrived, they had not a chance. Of course Cortés and Pizarro were still very smart in rallying around them the dissidents, who were many, but even if these would have failed new waves would have come and they would have collapsed anyhow.

      And, once conquered, their own hierarchy and societal rules could be used (after whatever reforms) by the conquerors to establish their provincial administration. After reinforcements arrived, all resistance was futile. There were many rebellions, some even creole ones (Aguirre), but they were all doomed against the most powerful Empire of its time. Only after the empires declined, centuries later, rebellions could begin succeeding, however the demographics, sociology and language of the countries had been changed forever by then.

      "... perhaps enough to stall it".

      The Mayas successfully stalled it but it was all in vain, even in spite of the insightful aid of Guerrero: reinforcements keep coming. The only ones who succeeded lived in too remote areas to matter, for example the Mapuches, who exacted a recognition from the Castilian Empire (later ignored by Chile however). In the long run even remoteness and fierce resistance was not enough protection: if it was not the Castilian soldiers, it were the Portuguese enslavers, if it was not the French traders, it were the land-hungry English colonies.... These powers were not looking at the Natives on one-to-one basis but rather competing against each other and Natives were just pawns or obstacles to their goals.

      While the American conquest was an early episode of the European colonial expansion, the fact is that soon these Western European powers were able to successfully confront everyone on Earth. The early success of Portugal against the Egyptian-Venetian coalition was later countered by Omani expansion but, soon after, Western powers were able to bring to its knees even mighty China. And, if not even China could withstand, what could Chalcolithic realms hope for, really?

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