May 25, 2008

"First contact" between LBK farmers and foragers

From the paper:
To conclude, the following model can be put forward. During the 6th Millennium cal BC, major parts of the loess region are exploited by a low density of hunter–gatherers. The LBK communities settle at arrival in locations fitting their preferred physical characteristics, but void of hunter–gatherer activity. Evidently,
multiple processes and contact situations may have occurred simultaneously, but in general the arrival of the LBK did not attract hunter–gatherer hunting activity. Their presence rather restrained native activity to regions located farther away from the newly constructed settlements or triggered fundamental changes in the socio-
economic organisation and activity of local hunter–gatherers. Evidence for the subsequent step in the transition dates to approximately one millennium later (CrombĂ© and Vanmontfort, 2007; Vanmontfort, 2007).
It is important to determine how long it took for indigenous populations and immigrant farmers to warm up to each other. The rate of spread (in km/year; and here) of the Neolithic may imply that by the time the farmer/forager societies started to blend, the wave of advance had already moved far away; the implication of this would be that the Neolithic bearers at the edge would have a smaller contribution from the indigenous populations of the regions they had already passed through.

There are two competing models, which I name the Rolling Snowball, and the Skipping Stone:
  • In the Rolling Snowball model, the farmers pick up indigenous genetic elements as they move across space; gradually the genetic impact of the initiators of the movement is diminished.
  • In the Skipping Stone model, farmers move out in search of new territories before they have started to blend with the local foragers; the genetic impact of the initiators of the movement is preserved.
It would be interesting to see more evidence of forager-farmer relationships in different regions.

Journal of Anthropological Archaeology doi:10.1016/j.jaa.2008.03.002

Forager–farmer connections in an ‘unoccupied’ land: First contact on the western edge of LBK territory

Bart Vanmontfort et al.

Abstract

The interaction between local foragers and incoming farmers is one of the hot topics in the study of Europe’s recent prehistory. In Central and Western Europe’s loam region, occupied by the first farmers of the Linearbandkeramik (LBK), hunter–gatherer remains are scarce and consist mostly of surface finds. Hence, the hunter–gatherer occupation and activity on the loess has never been studied in detail. This paper tackles the problem of the visibility of hunter–gatherer activity on the loess belt. An interregional comparison of microlith datasets allows identifying behavioural changes and differences in exploitation intensity. With regard to forager–farmer interaction, a mutual influence in the spatial patterning of activity or settlement is demonstrated.

Link

16 comments:

Maju said...

Hard to comment on an abstract but anyhow.

Linear Pottery culture (aka LBK, aka Danubian Neolithic), is born in Northern Hungary (upper Tisza), precisely where Balcanic Neolithic (Starcevo-Koros-Cris specifically) and post-Magdalenian hunter-gatherers must have come to contact. It is a quite different culture from its southern predecessor (but shows no clear material connection to hunter-gatherers anyhow) and it gives birth to two different cultures:

1. Eastern Linear Pottery (in eastern Hungary and Transylvania), that gets increasingly closer to Balcanic Neolithic cultures and can be considered part of this macro-cultural area after all.

2. Western Linear Pottery (starting in Western Hungary, lower Austria and Slovakia and Moravia) but eventually spreading massively through all Central Europe, not just to the west along the Danub and Rhin but to the North and East (going through North of the Carpathian mountains), until it even largely aculturizes the Eastern Balcans themselves (in a derived form: Boian-Maritza). This "western" and much larger branch of LBK is what is normally known as Danubian Neolithic.

It is not the original (Sesklo-derived) Balcanic Neolithic (that anyhow has several separate cultures each one on need of its own asessment) but a somewhat distinct one. So in any case, if there was a demic replacement, it must have been done by people of the middle Danub, not by Balcanic elements much less West Asian ones.

Wether these nuclear "Danubians" were Neolithized "Magdalenians" or imigrants from the Balcans or a mix of both is surely a matter of controversy.

Still, you find some peculiarities as Danubian Neolithic expands (and soon after diverges in several regional cultures); one of the most noticeable specializations is found at the Rhin, where hunting was apparently much more important intially: weapons are found in much greater aboundance than anywhere else (unless this means war - not impossible either).

Still Danubian is intially much more homogeneous than Mediterranean Neolithic (Cardium Pottery culture), that shows some clear colonies but also many more hybrid sites, where the new pottery and agricultural (and high seas fishing) techs are clearly mixed with local microlithic tools. Yet this homogeneity can only indirectly be attributed to the Balcans and has its core area in the Middle Danub in any case, with great likehood of assimilated hunter-gatherers being an important part of it since the beginning.

My understanding is that Danubians were a "mestizo" population, not so clearly as most Mediterranean Neolithics, where this "mestizo" character is more cultural than biological in most cases, but still probably a genetically mixed group since the very beginning.

terryt said...

Thanks for that rundown Maju. Most informative.

Dienekes. Wouldn't your "rolloing snowball" and "skipping stone" have much the same result finally? I mean wouldn't the genetic contribution of the original colonisers diminish as they moved in either scenario?

Polak said...

The skipping stone, huh?

Looks like Dienekes is looking for more ways to justify his "Nordic" haplogroup I1a theory.

However, there are two big problems with this theory...

a) Gracile North Europids were all over the North European plain from the Iron Age up to the late Middle Ages.

b) Haplogroup I is now the best candidate for Europe's Palaeolithic haplogroup. It's older than both R1b and R1a, and was in Europe before them.

So in fact, haplogroup I carriers are the oldest Europeans, and not "Mediterranean" Neolithic migrants from the Middle East.

Maju said...

Haplogroup I is now the best candidate for Europe's Palaeolithic haplogroup. It's older than both R1b and R1a, and was in Europe before them.

How do you know? That's just a possibility and age estimates are just educated guesses after all.

If I is as old in Europe why don't we find higher variability (and percentages) in the West, in accordance with the Magdalenian re-expansion model? And also in accordance with an East-West expansion of Neolithic (and later migrational waves like IEs).

IMO, haplogroup I may be old in Europe but, before Neolithic, it was restricted to Eastern regions. Certainly I shows a very poor correlation with Magdalenian in any case.

So in fact, haplogroup I carriers are the oldest Europeans, and not "Mediterranean" Neolithic migrants from the Middle East.

Not from the Middle East certainly (that would be J, G, T and E, though E is somewhat intriguing in any case) but from the Balcans and Ukraine very likely.

Polak said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Polak said...

Haplogroup I carriers were some of the oldest Europeans I meant to say.

They were the Upper Palaeolithics.

The later Neolithic "Mediterraneans" carried J, G, T and E into Europe.

Crimson Guard said...

Earth to Polak, Y-DNA I and J are the same, and it still came from the Mediterranean, via the middle east 30-40kya.

Polak said...

LOL

I is the best candidate for an Upper Palaeolithic European haplogroup.

That means it sprung from CroMagnon (UP) like populations and was already in Europe before "Mediterraneans" appeared.

And you should really get your timeframes sorted out. The CroMagnons who invaded Europe 30-40K years ago died out from the Ice Age.

Resettlement started when the ice melted. That's why the rather young R1b is now so common in western Europe.

The Middle Easterners carrying J, G and E arrived in Southern Europe during the Neolithic.

Btw, all major West Eurasian haplogroups ended up in Europe via the Near East one way or another.

Geez..thank god for modern science.

Polak said...

Or maybe you still think the CroMagnons who painted the caves in France carried R1b, eh Crimson?

Nope, R1b is a rather recent arrival from Eastern Europe.

Maju said...

That whole theory about the Iberian refuge holding R1b and I1a is now quite hilarious.

Who said anything about I1a?

There are two stands in this issue: one that does think that R1b1b2 (likely new name of R1b1c) and probably its predecessors R1b1b, R1b1, R1b and maybe even R1 coaslesced in the Franco-Cantabrian region (maybe arriving with the Gravettian culture like mtDNA H?). This is supported by archaeology, as there was no population replacement in this area in the Neolithic (except some spots of the SE coasts of Iberia, that anyhow are out of the FC region).

The other stand says this is not possible and must have arrived later (Neolithic or Indo-European inavasions). If it arrived later, then there was a amssive population replacement, including many areas that were not IE (like Basques or Iberians) or that were indoeuropeized very late (like the British islands). So for me the IE model is simply impossible.

Can it be Neolithic? IMO only if it was mediated by some specific major expansion along the Atlantic. The only cultural phenomenon that fits with this is Megalithism. In that case R1b1b2 (R1b1c), would have expanded from the Megalithic source (Portugal most likely) into all Western and large parts of Central Europe. It's not a very likely scenario (specially because it's not found significatively in Megalithic places like North Africa, and AFAIK, there's still UP-postNeolithic stone tool continuity everywhere).

So we have only one viable scenario left: the classical one that suggests R1b1b2 or more likely some antecessor coalesced in Western Europe and re-expanded from there, like it'c quite clear for mtDNA H and other clades like U5 and U8a. R1b* is only found in Western and Central Europe in ysearch data - higher levels have much fewer matches but more spread around, specially in South Asia - but not in Eastern Europe that lacks anything that is R*, R1*, etc. - so it's probably derived, not original from there. Also Western Europe has highest haplogroup diversity within R1b1b2 (R1b1c) - quite logical as it's not found elsewhere but anecdotically. Many subclades clades (that obviously cuouldnot arise in the last 3,000 years) are not ever found east of Germany.

But you can think whatever you wish based in mere educated guesses on Y-DNA dates.

Btw, the variance of I in Finland is very high, and so is it's age. No wonder though, because it was in that area for such a log time.

Isn't that comment totally naive? Finland, like all Northern Europe, was covered by thick ice sheets. Unless it's a polar bear clade it cannot been there for long.

And no wonder the I1a folk are so blond. That's where blondism developed in the first place.

How much have you read recently about the new finding in pygmentation genetics? They confirm what we all (except a handful of nordicists apparently) knew: that the extremely low pygmentation typical of Northern European countries is a very recent phenomenon.

Haplogroup I carriers were some of the oldest Europeans I meant to say.

They were the Upper Palaeolithics.


Yes, with all likehood.

But they were not in Western Europe apparently then. I1a was not with all likehood in the Western refugia but it might have been in the (distinct, epi-Gravettian) Italian one (following ysearch matches for I1* in the parts of Europe that had no ice) or further East (middle Danub?, Ukraine?).

What makes no sense according to all known archaeological data is to pretend that Eastern regions that were neolithized early and more strongly or remote Northern regions that were colonized late and in several waves keep more faithfully the genetic makeup of Western Europeans than Western Europeans themselves. That is against all logic, sorry.

You have your myth and want to convince all the rest of it but sincerely, if you cannot provide really strong evidence and logic, then better keep it for yourself.

Polak said...

Hey Maju, your R1b research is way off. It doesn't make sense.

It probably has something to do with the lack of enough samples from the right populations in Eastern Europe.

Polak said...

Btw, did I say I1a was in Finland during the Ice Age?

I said it as there for a LONG TIME. I other words, LONGER than the Neolithic.

Polak said...

Oh yeah, I1a was said to be in the Italian refuge not the Iberian...

Whatever, it was in niether.

Dienekes said...

Dienekes. Wouldn't your "rolloing snowball" and "skipping stone" have much the same result finally? I mean wouldn't the genetic contribution of the original colonisers diminish as they moved in either scenario?

Actually no. In the skipping stone model, the genetic contribution of the source population does not show a strong cline in the region where the skipping stone process takes place.

Another difference is that in the skipping stone, you don't expect to find so many "carry-over" elements from the intermediate areas.

Maju said...

It probably has something to do with the lack of enough samples from the right populations in Eastern Europe.

Surely this is an side effect of the extremely low ammount of R1b (or at least R1b1b2/R1b1c) in Eastern Europe, what in itself makes it a very unlikely candidate for this haplogroup's origin.

Turkey/Armenia may be another issue though - but analyzing the quite ample data of S. Alonso (2005), Turkish/Armenian R1b haplotypes form a rather distinct branch from those of Western Europe anyhow.

I said it as there for a LONG TIME. I other words, LONGER than the Neolithic.

Not sure when Neolithic starts in Finland but the arrival of Combed Pottery culture to the area is rather Chalcolithic by pan-European chronologies. There was another older layer though, believed to stem anyhow from Eastern Europe as well, but from the middle-western part of it instead. Maybe that's the origin of a good deal of I1 in Finland (that anyhow only accounts for 1/4 of the Y-DNA pool).

Maju said...

The CroMagnons who invaded Europe 30-40K years ago died out from the Ice Age.

Resettlement started when the ice melted. That's why the rather young R1b is now so common in western Europe.


There was never any breach of continuity in the population of the best documented (and probably most densely populated) European UP area: the Franco-Cantabrian region (modern southern France and the mountainous strip facing the Bay of Biscay in Spain). This was also surely the case in other "refugium" areas, like Mediterranean Iberia, Italy or Ukraine-Moldova-Don (the data for the Balcans is poor and mostly related to either Italy or Ukraine).

There is a theory that suggests that during the LGM (corresponding to Solutrean and the first half of Magdalenian in Western Europe) Central Europe (Rhin-Danub region) was deserted or mostly so. Not because of the ice sheet (that never reached so far south) but for aridity and cold. Some have argued that this is not appliable to some privileged areas like Moravia.

In any case, what we find since c. 13,500 BP is the colonization of that Rhin-Danub area by people carrying the Magdalenian culture, culure that was pre-existent only in the Franco-Cantabrian region (it also reached Mediterranean Iberia but at late dates, almost Epipaleolithic).

We also know that, prior to Neolithic (but after the end of the Ice Age), Northern Europe was colonized by people of epi-Magdalenian cultures. There is also a visible trend of middle European (northern French, Rhin-Danub) Epipaleolithic cultures (post-Magdalenian) influencing the SW, with possible demic migration to Mediterranean Iberia (that is always through the UP a reciever region).

So if anything of the genetic landscape we are seeing now in Western and Central Europe is of UP origins, then it probably coalesced in the Franco-Cantabrian region, not in Vietnam (or whatever remote corner you are thinking of).

If it's of Epipaleolithic origins, then it may have coalesced near the Rhin or the Danub as well.

So, in line with the most common interpretations, R1b1b2 (R1b1c) may well have coalesced in Southern France/Northern Spain but this does not exclude further less significative N>S back-migrations (that could have happened later as well) nor similarly secondary S>N or E>W Neolithic-related inputs.

Of course, if all European Y-DNA is of recent Neolithic origin, then we are not seeing anything of what happened in the Paleolithic/Epipaleolithic,not in Finland nor in Denmark nor in Britain nor anywhere. But this is most unlikely, IMO.