A very interesting thesis on Iberian ancient mitochondrial DNA is available (found via Bell Beaker Blogger):
Christina Roth, Once upon a time in the West : paleogenetic analyses on Mesolithic to Early Bronze Age individuals from the Iberian Peninsula. University of Mainz (thesis), 2016. Freely available → LINK
As all theses, it is very extensive, and I can only make some comments here (space and time are always too limited, you know), hoping to grasp the most interesting aspects of it.
First of all Roth finds that Iberian hunter-gatherers (HGW in the paper) were not quite like Central European ones (HGC), at least not in the mtDNA. Instead, in this aspect the Central European hunter-gatherers were closer to Eastern European ones (HGE), as well as to the Pitted Ware late subneolithic population of Gotland.
Iberia-only mtDNA analysis
This will be a recurrent issue along the analysis she makes. But let's focus on Iberia by the moment. Notice that she does not just use her own data but also from many other sources, including some unpublished materials, this makes a bit difficult to follow all the details, so I feel I can only focus on the statistical analysis she makes and which is the core of the thesis.
|Annotated by me, because I found the abbreviations quite hard to follow|
The general overview is confirmed, with minor variations, in the cluster analysis (which I also took the liberty of annotating, but take my notes for what they are: mere scribbling on the margin in an attempt to better understand the data, nothing else):
Particular care not to take the arrows of my notes too seriously: they are just conceptual, a very loose sequencing of the available data for a very tentative visualization of it. If it helps you, cool, else ignore please.
In any case, it seems clear cluster 2 is more influenced by hunter-gatherer genetics and that, with the data available in this study, we reach the end of the timeline within it in the following regions: Upper Ebro and Basque Country (data up to Late Neolithic but see my own 2013 compilation for a longer period), Southern Iberia (up to Chalcolithic) Southeast and Northeast, this one after originally being in the "more Neolithic" cluster 1 (in fact the author does argue for Catalonia as main "gate" for Neolithic genetics into Iberia on light of the available data, which does not include another important "gate", the SE one, for lack of data for the early period).
Inversely, cluster 1 is more influenced by "farmer" genetics, first detected in the Northeast (Catalonia and nearby areas of Aragon) but then also affecting the Northern Plateau and the West (Central Portugal). This last is very important because it is here where a key civilizational hub, the oldest known civilization of the Atlantic shores, emerged in the Chalcolithic, playing a key role in the wider Megalithic and Bell Beaker phenomena. I have at times speculated that it might be the origin of "modernity" in Western European genetic pools but on light of this data I have to recant, the origin should be elsewhere, probably in/around what is now France (and therefore it's not likely to be directly related to Bell Beaker, except maybe in the islands, but rather to Michelsberg/SOM, Artenacian and such -- always in wait of more data, just a cautious hypothesis).
Finally the farmer-leaning cluster reaches the Southern Plateau, near Madrid, what suggests a N→S move of the then-forming Cogotas I herder culture, rather than the opposite.
What we do see is not inconsistent with modern Iberian genetics anyhow: while Central Europe seem to have seen an increase of "hunter-gatherer" genetics along time, in Iberia the main tendency is the opposite: an increase of "farmer" genetics and further dilution of the aboriginal genetic pool. There is however at least one clear exception in the Northeast and that is also consistent with modern Iberian genetics. Some regions (south, southeast and the totally unknown northwest) have only fragmentary sequences here, so unclear, although the final tendency, up to the Bronze Age, is to cluster 2b (i.e. mixed but rather tending to "hunter-gatherer" genetics).
To finish with the Iberia-only bloc, notice that these are the lineages found among early Iberian farmers by region (in color those haplogroups associated to the arrival of Neolithic per the available data):
Notice how the pool in the Northern region is quite modern-like, not yet exactly as it is locally today but it would pass quite unnoticed in a map of Europe.
Iberia and the rest of Europe
What about the pan-European context (with the usual huge blanks in France, Britain, etc.)? Quite interesting as well:
|Annotated by Maju on fig. 23 (click to enlarge)|
As mentioned before, the Iberian hunter gatherers (HGW) appear clearly distinct from their Central and Eastern cousins in the mtDNA analysis. And with all this Iberian dataset it becomes apparent that there seem to be two "zones of admixture": one for Iberians and another for Central Europeans, the difference being on which aborigines they mix with.
Notice that it is not possible to differentiate here between local Central European and intrusive Eastern European admixture, as both aboriginal hunter-gatherer populations appear closely related in all analyses (maybe an artifact of the sampling strategy or maybe actually relevant, can't say).
It also caught my eye that a German site (Blätterhöhle, Westfalia, famed because farmer and hunter-gatherers living side by side were located there some years ago), clusters intensely with Iberian hunter-gatherers and related populations. I have to research more on this matter (which I had ignored so far) but I suspect it may be very relevant, because we could get an even longer chain of early "modern" mtDNA pools, adding this site to Paternabidea (Navarre) and Gurgy (Burgundy), spanning a long stretch of Western Europe, an area quite neglected by archaeogenetics so far, it must be said.
It is also worth mentioning that UC (which I believe stands for Unetice Culture) pulls the "Central European zone of admixture" in the PCA downwards, with a polarity of its own, a polarity that should probably be considered as specifically Indoeuropean.
The cluster analysis confirms much of what I just said above, not annotated for a change:
We see very clearly here a larger cluster more influenced by "farmer" genetics and a smaller one that includes all pre-Neolithic aborigines, plus two populations already post-Neolithic but clearly identifiable as at least largely aboriginal (PWC and BLA), plus a subcluster of Neolithic Iberians, from the North (NSE and EVN) and the West (CPE).
The author notices that: Bernburg (BEC) and Funnel Beaker (FBC) samples (...) show almost no significant differences to any Iberian group, except to the Early Neolithic of Northern Spain (NSE) and Chalcolithic of East Spain (ESC). Hard to interpret but worth noticing, no doubt.
And there is a lot more in the thesis but I can only review so much, so take a look and tell me and the World if I'm missing something of relevance or you feel I'm misinterpreting something or whatever.