May 02, 2010

Sardinian R-M269 casts doubt on its Neolithic arrival into Europe (or does it?)

I had previously posted on a paper which proposed a Neolithic origin of European R1b1b2 (R-M269) chromosomes. In my criticism for that paper I noted that:
Equally flawed is the inference that R1b1b2 is clinal (Figure 2A). Microsatellite variance is not significantly higher in Turkey than in Europe -- even if one makes the questionable questionable assumption that modern Anatolian Turks are patrilineal descendants of Neolithic Anatolians. The significance of the regression line disappears if 1 or 2 data points are excluded, and the plot has a quite visible "gap" between Turkey and Italy corresponding to the entirety of eastern Europe and the Balkans, i.e. the routes that any putative Neolithic lineages would have entered Europe.
The current paper does not sample the gap I noted in my earlier post, but it looks at Sardinian Y chromosomes, casting doubt on the alleged reduction of diversity from West Asia to Western Europe.

The new paper however has flaws of its own. Its most significant error is its use of the infamous "evolutionary" mutation rate.
Second, Balaresque et al. [17] used a STR specific germ-line mutation rate that placed the TMRCA in the Neolithic age. In contrast we used a unique prior for the microsatellite mutation rate estimates as 6.9×10−4 as recommended by Zhivotovsky and co-workers [24]–[26], see also [27]–[31], that, as reported above, placed the haplogroups TMRCA values in pre-Neolithic times. The difference between the former, evolutionarily effective, and the latter, germ line mutation rates is critical. In fact the haplogroups that survive the stochastic processes of drift and extinction accumulate STR variation at a lower rate than predicted from corresponding pedigree estimates. In particular, under constant population size, the accumulated variance is on average 3–4 times smaller [26]. Hence germ line mutation rates provide evolutionary estimates for haplogroups biased toward much younger age [26].
The degree of blindness required to use the evolutionary rate never ceases to amaze me. I will direct the reader to my earlier post on the evolutionary rate, but let us consider what the assumption of "constant population size" means. Sardinia has a male effective population size numbering in the hundreds of thousands, while the Paleolithic population of the entire European continent numbered at most to a few tens of thousands.

We can thus safely assume 2-3 orders of magnitude of population growth since the Paleolithic. Thus, the assumption of "constant population size" is nonsense, population increase occurred at a faster rate, and correspondingly Y-STR variance accumulated at a faster rate, close to the germline rate.

It is sad to see that geneticists have disagreed for years about what the proper mutation rate should be for evolutionary studies. Most of the work on how the evolutionary rate changes with population growth dynamics was already done by Zhivotovsky et al. (2006), but a group of geneticists seem to have discarded all those observations and uncritically used the simple case of constant population size which corresponds to the "slow" rate of Zhivotovsky et al. (2004) and leads to substantial age overestimates.

It's downright bizarre how neither authors nor peer reviewers can put 2+2 together and figure out that applying a model of constant population size for a population that grew 1,000-fold is muddle-headed oversimplification.

In conclusion, the age estimates of the new paper are wrong and should be divided by 3 or so to provide better estimates. However, I should also point out that age estimation with Y-STRs is associated with wide error margins, even if the number of Y-STRs is quite large. The authors are quite right to point out that the inclusion of an additional Y-STR marker upsets the orderly westward diminution of diversity observed in the previous paper; however, neither they (with their pre-Neolithic estimate), nor the authors of the previous paper (with their Neolithic one) have much of a case.

Where does that leave us? We have no clue as to the origin of R-M269 in Western Europe. I can think of several reasons why this is likely to remain the case:
  1. Modern populations are not good representatives of ancient, Neolithic, let alone pre-Neolithic populations from the same vicinities as ancient mtDNA studies have repeatedly shown. Y-chromosome studies are more scant, but there is no reason to think that Y-chromosome distributions are more geographically stable; if anything, strong regional differentiation, and greater historical male mobility may suggest that the opposite is the case.
  2. Inferences of diversity clines are based on a patchy collection of convenience samples where most of Europe (let alone West Asia) is underrepresented or sampled non-systematically and at a very small number of markers.
  3. Indeed, confidence intervals of Y-STR based age estimates are so wide, that small differences in Y-STR diversity are almost never sufficient to infer greater or lesser antiquity of a population: in short, the odds that a population exhibiting lower Y-STR variance may be older than one exhibiting higher variance are too high to ignore, even with many Y-STR markers, let alone the 10 or so of most scientific studies.
It's about time that geneticists face up to the limitations of their craft. I suppose it's more impressive to make grand statements about European prehistory than to admit to the limitations of the available data.

So, is R-M269 Neolithic or Paleolithic in Europe? I have no idea and I haven't seen any data to convince me one way or another. So, while I welcome new data on its distribution and diversity, and acknowledge that all new data is useful, my own position remains agnostic. A single validated ancient DNA sample would mean more to me than all modern population studies put together.

Related: my Y-STR series.

PLoS ONE doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010419

A Comparison of Y-Chromosome Variation in Sardinia and Anatolia Is More Consistent with Cultural Rather than Demic Diffusion of Agriculture

Laura Morelli et al.

Abstract

Two alternative models have been proposed to explain the spread of agriculture in Europe during the Neolithic period. The demic diffusion model postulates the spreading of farmers from the Middle East along a Southeast to Northeast axis. Conversely, the cultural diffusion model assumes transmission of agricultural techniques without substantial movements of people. Support for the demic model derives largely from the observation of frequency gradients among some genetic variants, in particular haplogroups defined by single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the Y-chromosome. A recent network analysis of the R-M269 Y chromosome lineage has purportedly corroborated Neolithic expansion from Anatolia, the site of diffusion of agriculture. However, the data are still controversial and the analyses so far performed are prone to a number of biases. In the present study we show that the addition of a single marker, DYSA7.2, dramatically changes the shape of the R-M269 network into a topology showing a clear Western-Eastern dichotomy not consistent with a radial diffusion of people from the Middle East. We have also assessed other Y-chromosome haplogroups proposed to be markers of the Neolithic diffusion of farmers and compared their intra-lineage variation—defined by short tandem repeats (STRs)—in Anatolia and in Sardinia, the only Western population where these lineages are present at appreciable frequencies and where there is substantial archaeological and genetic evidence of pre-Neolithic human occupation. The data indicate that Sardinia does not contain a subset of the variability present in Anatolia and that the shared variability between these populations is best explained by an earlier, pre-Neolithic dispersal of haplogroups from a common ancestral gene pool. Overall, these results are consistent with the cultural diffusion and do not support the demic model of agriculture diffusion.

Link

80 comments:

onur said...

A single validated ancient DNA sample would mean more to me than all modern population studies put together.

This is also what I think. The same rule applies when making inferences about the genetic history of any population or region, whether for ancient or recent periods.

aargiedude said...

while the Paleolithic population of the entire European continent numbered at most a few tens of thousands.

It was probably more like 200,000. There were an estimated 5 million humans in Afro-Asia, or 1 per 16 km². This is an often repeated figure, that ties in well with what we know of population densities of the few hunter-gatherers still around in jungles and deserts (keeping in mind they survive in places that weren't typical for the vast majority of the human species, so that kind of distorts how modern hunter-gatherers represent what was typical in the Ice Age). There are 5,000,000 km² in the European region, so that results in 300,000 hunter-gatherers, and we can adjust that slightly downwards to account for the climate, despite that all of Europe was/is habitable (don't bring up the comparison with the brief extreme of the Ice Age maximum), as opposed to Africa, which is 40% desert. Europe had an array of fauna that was either as incredible or more than Africa. So did template and arctic USA and Canada, except that in their case there is no doubt that their fauna assemblage was the most impressive thing on the face of the Earth. And homo sapiens were hunter-getherers (and yes, I know that most of their food was from plants, as is typical in all omnivores, but still).

I've seen these bizarrely low population estimates before, also for neanderthals. It doesn't make biological sense. It would be the lowest population density of a large mammal species anywhere in the world, by an order of magnitude. There are specific reasons why this doesn't make biological sense, but it's a little hard to explain it well here in a brief comment. It's not realistic. There would've been 50 or 100 times as many cave lions wandering in Europe as homo sapiens! An animal with possibly the smallest ecological footprint of all, each one weighing 4 times as much as a typical human, so that the human ecological niche would have been something microscopic, virtually inexistent. Completely unrealistic. This whole deal that "if we don't find archeological material then it doesn't exist" is getting very absurd and old. Trying to estimate population densities, or even outright existence, based on paleolithic remains... get outta here. People existed absolutely everywhere, and at the maximum density possible. Mother Nature is a weed, and it will always attempt to expand to the absolute limit of what is physically possible. No exception. We were an omnivorous animal. Our ecological footprint was probably comparable to a species of bear or hyena or lion.

But this is almost off topic... I just had to make that observation. It's not the first time I've read a description that humans or neanderthals had population densities like if they were blue whales in Antarctica... holy crap, actually, blue whales in Antarctica would have had a higher population density than humans in Europe! Let me check... yes! Ha ha, wow... Ridiculous.

........................................

It's downright bizarre how neither authors nor peer reviewers can put 2+2 together and figure out that applying a model of constant population size for a population that grew 1,000-fold is muddle-headed oversimplification.

Or even worse, that Balaresque would make a study claiming to find a star-like pattern in R1b1b2, and not one-peer reviewer mentioned to her that we've known for half a decade that European R1b1b2 belongs overwhelmingly to ht15 and Anatolian R1b1b2 belongs overwhelmingly to ht35, so there can be no star-like pattern.

Maju said...

"Thus, the assumption of "constant population size" is nonsense, population increase occurred at a faster rate, and correspondingly Y-STR variance accumulated at a faster rate, close to the germline rate".

You are very right in denouncing the assumption of "constant population size", Dienekes but the effect is mostly the opposite as you claim: when population is low, mutations may need more time to happen and consolidate but, when they do, they have almost infinite more chances to swap to fixation than when population is high and growing. Within a large (and growing) population, no mutation can in practical terms ever sweep to fixation nor even anything remotely close: within large populations, new mutations persist but grow only very slowly, hence they remain as "private" lineages till present day or, at best, can conform some small low level haplogroups/-types.

This is quite obvious if you bother thinking on it.

Also, importantly, you cannot use the even more "infamous" pedigree rate before 5000 years ago and still believe in its results (vide Henn 2009). The evolutionary rate is the correct one to use (within the MC hypothesis) for the time-frames produced here, even if it'd need some fine tuning (or rather the whole MCH needs a radical overhaul).

Also c. 32 Ka for R1b1b2 is a reasonable age from the viewpoint of Prehistory, fitting well with the phylogeny too. Such a date would allow for the lineage to have spread, along with mtDNA H (of similar structure and distribution) with Gravettian (?) in Europe and allows for a long time for putatively South Asian R or R1 to coalesce into R1b and R1b1b2 in West Asia (?) prior to the European-specific expansion of R1b1b2a1.

I have not yet read the paper in full but the phylogeny in fig. 2 (specially 2A, using the DYSA7.2 STR marker) is very illustrative of the real structure of R1b1b2, with two clearly distinct branches in West Europe and Anatolia. Eventually someone will find an SNP of several to describe the Anatolian lineage as a clearly distinct haplogroup (to be named R1b1b2b probably).

It seems a most crucial paper. More when I read it in full.

aargiedude said...

Eventually someone will find an SNP or several to describe the Anatolian lineage as a clearly distinct haplogroup (to be named R1b1b2b probably).

That's a very good observation, and I wholly agree.

Maju said...

But maybe not after all (unsure, second thought). It could also be that the branch leading to R1b1b2a1 via the Balcans is one of those that spawned from the Anatolian explosion, in which case the current nomenclature of R1b1b2(a)* would be correct after all.

It would not change things much really. I was describing the R1b expansion as a structure of bouts, some larger, some smaller but probably in this sequence:

0. Coalescence of R1b in West Asia (probably) from a South Asian root
1. R1b1a to Mediterranean and Africa
2. R1b1b1 to Central Asia (and R1b1b2 to Anatolia)
3 (or 2b). R1b1b2(a) in Anatolia
4. R1b1b2a1 in West Europe

This would place the early R1b expansion (1-2-3) in the context of early human expansion in West Eurasia, along with other lineages such as IJ, G and T (not sure about E1b1b so early). If so the spread of R1b1b2a1 would be parallel to that of I or almost so, what makes much better sense overall.

The important elements are:

1. There are two clearly distinct clusters, one centered in Anatolia and the other in West Europe

2. R1b1b2a1 is confirmed to have experienced its own single expansion (not two as would need the "Neolithic model")

3. There is a clear Balcanic nexus, worth of in depth research, IMO

4. I was right! ;)

Maju said...

Ah, also:

5. There is a MC age estimate that makes some sense!

That's a rarity of its own category.

Average Joe said...

I wonder if Haplogroups R and I came to Europe at the same time? I am only saying this because on genome-wide studies most Northern Europeans are more closely related to each other than they are to other populations. If the two Y-chromosome families travelled together and intermarried it might explain why Northern Europeans are closely related in spite of NW Europeans being dominated by R1b, Central Europeans being dominated by I and NE Europeans being dominated by R1a. Just a thought.

Maju said...

Joe: it may well mean a diversification after expansion. I don't think autosomal studies can really grasp the deep phylogenies but just the more recent "archetypal tendency" caused by homogenization in relative isolation. The differences may be relatively old but necessarily more recent than this (and mtDNA H's) expansion.

Maju said...

Also, unless a European origin of R1a can be proven (at the moment is not), R1a and R1b must have diverged in South or Central Asia, they may be parallel waves (hard to tell with the current level of resolution of R1a) but they must have also diverged before R1b coalesced in West Asia.

So cousins but not much more than with R2 or Q. There are many R1b layers between West European R1b1b2a1 and East European R1a, one leading to Africa, another to Turkestan and, of course, the one to West Asia and the Balcans at the nearest level. There's more clearly direct affinity between East and West European gene pools via mtDNA but never to the exclusion of West Asia, Central Asia and North Africa.

It'd be nice to explain certain things in Europe if R1 would have split in Central Europe. However the evidence does not point in that direction so far (AFAIK). So R1b and R1a should be thought as two different processes within the overall colonization of West Eurasia and should be analyzed separately (at least until the R1a structure and tempo is clarified).

Gioiello said...

But R1b1b2b already exists: it's mine S136+, not recognized because found only in me and a relative of mine. If you demonstrate that Anatolian are like me, and that is possible given my Tuscan origin the Etruskan...

I am asking from many times that are tested the Rozen's SNPs, but nobody do, for what I know.

pconroy said...

Why does that paper say:
The demic diffusion model postulates the spreading of farmers from the Middle East along a Southeast to Northeast axis.

Shouldn't that be Northwest?

eurologist said...

I agree with Maju: once you derive ages this old, recent population growth is almost irrelevant. For example, for 32,000 years ago, you have ~25,000 years - the vast majority - before agriculture. And even after arrival of agriculture, a particular R-haplogroup may not have expanded as quickly, given the new arrivals of J and E, and the peculiar dominance of I-M26 in Sardinia.

I am glad someone finally published a paper along the lines of what most people here were thinking, anyway.

Of course, now I wished I and R1a would receive similar attention...

onur said...

"Why does that paper say:
The demic diffusion model postulates the spreading of farmers from the Middle East along a Southeast to Northeast axis.

Shouldn't that be Northwest?"

Maybe they are referring to the parts of Europe that have been most and least genetically affected respectively by the spread of farmers. Northeast Europe may have preserved its Paleolithic (pre-agriculture) genetic composition more than Northwest Europe.

Maju said...

Logically it's a typo.

onur said...
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onur said...
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onur said...
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onur said...
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onur said...

Northeast Europe may have preserved its Paleolithic (pre-agriculture) genetic composition more than Northwest Europe.

I should have instead said "Northeast Europe may have been genetically less affected by the spread of farmers than Northwest Europe" as Northeast Europe may have later (after Paleolithic) been significantly affected by diffusion of haplogroups unrelated to the West Asian agricultural revolution.

onur said...

Logically it's a typo.

It doesn't need to be so as they may be referring to the parts of Europe that have been most and least genetically affected respectively by the spread of farmers.

Aaron said...

"I should have instead said "Northeast Europe may have been genetically less affected by the spread of farmers than Northwest Europe"

-- Actually I don't believe this is true, except for maybe Baltic and Finland. NW Europe, referring to UK, Netherlands, Belgium...etc and loosely Scandinavia seem to have less 'farming' contribution than Poland or Ukraine for instance. This might be because the Danubian farmers were actually absorbed via Moldavia. Geography has played a big role.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

"I've seen these bizarrely low population estimates before, also for neanderthals. It doesn't make biological sense. It would be the lowest population density of a large mammal species anywhere in the world, by an order of magnitude."

I don't agree. Neanderthals were a top level predator, eating overwhelmingly, big game. Their genetically estimated population density is on the same order of magnitude as other top level predators (like Siberian tigers) and is also not far below that of historic population densities of Buffalo hunting Native Americans who stuggled to maintain their population levels by trading with and raiding neighboring populations.

We know that the Neaderthals were not as effective hunters as the megafauna eliminating modern humans that followed them, that they had no farming populations to raid, and that they didn't have the full range of the European continent to fill.

Hunter-gatherer populations an order of magnitude or more lower than herder populations in the same area.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Of the OP criticisms, I'd have to point to population continuity in Sardinia as the most serious concern, and would agree that the amount of uncertainty flowing from mutation dating is another.

Between the Paleolithic and the present one has many potentially demic events:

1. Neolithic population arrival from Italy and Corsica ca. 6000 BCE.
2. The existence of megalithic architecture starting ca. 3500 BCE suggestions involvement in a larger Atlantic megalith culture from that date or earlier.
3. Population influx (and probably warfare) via Mediterranean sea traffic ca. 1600 BCE.
4. Phoenician colonies ca. 1000 BCE, culmiating in almost 300 years of rule from Carthage.
5. About 700 years of Roman immigration and domination from 238 BCE (the end of the First Punic War).
6. Several generations of Vandal occupation starting 456 CE.
7. Various trade and military allies of the four medieval kingdoms starting around 900 CE and lasting for several hundred years.
8. Four hundred years of Spanish rule.
9. Affiliation with Italy and proto-Italian states, and related large mainland Italy military presences for some periods since the Napoleonic Wars (1799 CE).

Demic replacement is also a potential explanation for the "gap" of similar haplotypes between Sardinia and Anatolia. A plausible ancient Maritime culture to associate with the megaliths is the Minoan culture. There is a real possibility that the Mycenean Greeks made great population replacements at the time of the fall of Minoean culture (ca. 1400 BCE) and also that remaining pre-Greek populations may have been relocated during the Bronze Age Collapse (ca. 1200 BCE).

The R-M269 haplotype is at about 18% in existing Sardinian males, and the subtype overlap with Anatolian types are fairly rare in both populations, so it would hardly take a complete population replacement to send these kinds of demographic signals.

Aaron said...

"2. The existence of megalithic architecture starting ca. 3500 BCE suggestions involvement in a larger Atlantic megalith culture from that date or earlier."

Megalithic architecture is probably our best bet. Also the dates are for when the earliest artefacts are found at the site, not necessarily when the stones were erected. Nonetheless we might never know their true age, unless someone has greater insight in this matter. We also cannot assume that the people using them, were not in some cases the same people who built them. However, we see these monuments are often tombs, or used for some kinds of rituals. The earliest Neolithic people of Europe did not bury their dead.

I wasn't aware of any evidence that would connect the Minoans to megaliths...It's possible that stone age "cults" were living alongside "neolithic" ones who brought sedentary farming to Europe. The earlier people seem to have left far less evidence of their existence.

Maju said...

"I wasn't aware of any evidence that would connect the Minoans to megaliths..."

Me neither. The only possible connection is the "neo-megalithic" tombs fashionable in Southern Iberia and SE France since Chalcolithic, along the more popular and classical dolmens of Western origin. These tomb types include tholos (beehive tomb with false dome, with similar architectural style to Sardinian Nuraghe and Spanish Motillas forts), artificial caves and "silo" style tombs (artificial caves of vertical design). They never really spread beyond that area of southern Iberia and Languedoc and even their origins are not fully clear.

I would also be very wary of considering Megalithism as related to a demic wave in Atlantic Europe. Maybe such thing can be proven but I really want hard evidence in archaeological terms. In general I understand that Megalithism is a phenomenon, a "superculture" if you wish but that it does not radically replace whatever was before but rather adds an element, probably a religious one, to pre-existent cultural contexts, which vary a lot from place to place.

However it's not totally impossible that it represents its own Neolithic wave in the context of NW Europe but in dynamic relation with other cultural centers in any case. And as I say, such demic flow would need to be proven. So far I fail to see evdence for the main Megalithic centers (Lusitania and Armorica) being genetically central to R1b in West Europe. So rather not.

The Paleolithic frame fits much better.

Aaron said...

I don't understand why pottery and kurgans can link a particular culture, yet megalithism can't? You don't suddenly start erecting stones, especially not for religious purposes, or start burying your dead in these tombs. If your argument is that R1b1b2 is deeply rooted in the palaeolithic, all the more reason why these regions where megalithism is common (which it is in all cases) should represent common elements of religion and burial practices. As I mentioned before, all we have is guesswork on the ages of the dolmens and menhirs, they could be considerably older than the material evidence.

Maju said...

Pottery, so to say, may be the key. By that I mean the whole set of material culture in each of the local/regional contexts.

AFAIK Megalithism is highly diverse: there's a common referential frame (hence "super-culture") which is main burial style (in dolmen, "collective" or "clannic") and maybe other apparent elements such as a focus on astronomy and the importance of naval routes, including trade. But otherwise each local culture has its own personality, typically founded on previous local (or nearby) evolution.

You don't see, excepting localized cases, generalized cultural transposition as such. It's a complex matter anyhow, so I'm open to new interpretations if they are solid.

Anyhow, the same as happens with Kurgans, demic replacement (excepting to some extent low density areas like Poland) is not really apparent. These cultural changes, including Kurgans, are more like cultural transitions, which combine the new and "foreign" with the old and local, and sometimes several "foreign" influences at one time.

onur said...

-- Actually I don't believe this is true, except for maybe Baltic and Finland. NW Europe, referring to UK, Netherlands, Belgium...etc and loosely Scandinavia seem to have less 'farming' contribution than Poland or Ukraine for instance. This might be because the Danubian farmers were actually absorbed via Moldavia. Geography has played a big role.

Sounds logical to me. But still, I think the question of whether it was NW or NE Europe (taking into consideration differences between their subregions) that has received more Neolithic farmer/herder DNA is far from being answered, let alone adequately answered, and calls for much more investigation (and more serious at that) than has been done so far.

pconroy said...

When we talk about Megalithism, let's just remember Newgrange - located in the most fertile central plain of Eastern Ireland:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newgrange

The complex of Newgrange was originally built between c. 3100 and 2900 BC,[10] meaning that it is approximately 5,000 years old. According to Carbon-14 dates,[11] it is more than five hundred years older than the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, and predates Stonehenge by about a thousand years, as well as predating the Mycenaean culture of ancient Greece.[12]


This building is arguably the oldest pyramidal structure in the world, and is also an exact solar observatory, so it was probably used by early agricultural settlers to the country to measure the seasons and times of planting and harvesting.

As I've stated before, I think that agriculture was spread to Western European in the Neolithic by people whose ultimate origins are in or around Göbekli Tepe in Anatolia -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6bekli_Tepe - the scene of the earliest known megalithic structures, and close to the homeland of agriculture, which then spread from there, possibly via Cyprus, and maybe North Africa, up the Atlantic facade of Europe in one branch, and another via the Balkans up through Central Europe.

Since we know that Irish and Iberian R1b are not related, as in almost 100% of R1b carriers are R-L21 in Ireland, and almost none in Iberia, then this source population couldn't have come from Iberia

So that leaves us with only 2 possibilities:
1. They arrived via the Central European branch and via
a. Brittany/Northern France/Belgium --> Southern Ireland
b. Britain --> Scotland --> Northern Ireland
2. They bypassed Iberia, or had limited settlements there and went straight up the Atlantic directly to Eastern Ireland, maybe via Brittany.

So IMO, if you can solve how Irish R1b came to be almost 100% R-L21 and downstream like R-M222, you can solve the spread of R1b in Western Europe in general.

Maju said...

"This building is arguably the oldest pyramidal structure in the world"...

Very arguably. First of all I would not consider it any sort of pyramid but just another dolmen (passage variant) with a preserved (and more or less correctly) reconstructed) mound. There are thousands of those in Atlantic Europe and the West Mediterranean. And certainly it's not the oldest of its kind: there are dolmens in Portugal that could be almost 2000 years older.

More relatively unique are the size of the complex (possibly a characteristic of Armorican and British megalithism), the decorations (Nordic?) and the presence of a stone ring. Stone rings have a most mysterious story of their own and are not archetypal of Atlanto-Mediterranean megalitism. They appear here and there, in various specific cultural contexts and in some cases (Nabta Playa in Egypt, probably the oldest one) not even apparently related with dolmenic megalithism.

Another specific of British megalithism is the henge, which in fact seems a Danubian (non-megalithic) element (known in the continent as camp or rondel).

I think that in Armorica (mid-West France) and (by extension) Britain there was a more apparently aristocratic (priestly?) variant of the usually more horizontal dolmenic megalithic phenomenon. That doesn't mean that in other places did not appeared aristocracies (or priestly castes maybe) but that they don't seem so focused on the "Mega" side of the phenomenon (and when they built big, they built big walled towns instead).

Sorry to mix Ireland and Britain but, apart of not knowing so much about the specifics of megalithism in Ireland, I presume that a lot of stuff was related to what happened in the bigger island. But you tell me if you know.

...

As for the genetics, I'd wait for improved resolution, as there's lots of people still classified as "asterisk" at high levels. Also the subclade of R1b1b2a1 to which L21 belongs seems to have a Franco-Cantabrian origin (arrived to the islands via Armorica?), unlike the "Nordic" clade which seems to have a NW European core and have expanded specially in the Epipaleolithic.

Probably these two basal subclades, which are not yet the majority of the carriers, specially not in SW Europe, represent two zones of Epipaleolithic demography (expansion in the North, more ambiguous in the South) and I'd say that those with R1b1b2a1a2 have Franco-Cantabrian ancestry by that partilineal side, while those with R1b1b2a1a1 have their more direct ancestors (always only patrilineage) in the Rhine-Seine zone.

But a lot is to learn in this aspect yet, so not too sure.

aargiedude said...

But maybe not after all (unsure, second thought). It could also be that the branch leading to R1b1b2a1 via the Balcans is one of those that spawned from the Anatolian explosion

If you're wondering about the "intermediate" cluster that they found, it's almost certainly the Albanian cluster of ht35, which has 393=13 (like ht15) and 461=11 (like ht35). It can make up as much as half of the ht35 samples in southeast Europe, but it's a very recent development, with a variance comparable to Irish M222.

I am glad someone finally published a paper along the lines of what most people here were thinking, anyway.

Huh? Most people here or in other genetics' forums believe solidly in the whole theory of TMRCA, and thus the logical conclusion from it that people must have spread from the Middle East to Europe in the last 5,000 years. And also logically from it, they are forced to believe in the Aryan Invasion Theory, the Bantu Expansion, etc. To the point that all people alive today must trace their y-dna lineages to just a couple dozen men that lived 5,000 years ago, sort of like if the Adam and Eve event at the beginning of Out-of-Africa had occured a 2nd time... except that, weirdly, this time it would have occured when the population of the world was exploding!

...............................................

Maju, I made a drawing of the 2 main possibilities of how R1b developed.

R1b - 2 models of development.gif

In the left we see the currently accepted view, in which there are no bottleneck events affecting the ht35 lineages after they arise. This is supposedly backed up by the greater variance of R1b1b2 as we move from southeast (Anatolia) to northwest (northwest Europe), but as this study shows, using an expanded set of STRs we can discern 2 main clusters of R1b1b2, changing completely the dynamic. This "revelation" is what's been widely known for half a decade, that almost all West European R1b1b2 belongs to ht15 and almost all Anatolian R1b1b2 belongs to ht35. It seems to be a revelation for Morelli, and for the Balaresque study they're criticizing.

Anyhow, knowing that there are 2 main clusters of R1b1b2, we can separate them and calculate their respective variances. I've done this and posted the results in several maps over the last month, and they show that North European ht15 lineages have the same variance as Anatolian ht35. It doesn't fit the drawing on the left. A better fit would be the one on the right. This would also mean, for example in the case of L23*, that we should eventually be able to find one or more SNPs that are derived for all or almost all currently existing L23* lineages, but underived in all other non-L23* haplogroups. Maybe a job for the walk-the-y program at FTDNA.

Maju said...

"If you're wondering about the "intermediate" cluster that they found"...

Not really. I'm wondering about the root of R1b1b2 and that I know that R1b1b2* is typically Anatolian/Caucasian.

Seen in isolation it looks as two "stars" spawning from a central "Balcanic" node. But in fact it must be that the "Western" star is derived from a particularly successful branch of the "Anatolian" star.

Maybe the phylogeny at that level is fine as we know it, with the other smaller branches of the "Antolian" star being just "little sisters", or even "aunts" of the "Western" autonomous and quite distinct star. We don't really need an R1b1b2a2 in Anatolia it can be perfectly R1b1b2a* (i.e. many small lineages of the same level as R1b1b2a1).

It's actually a very good example why raw diversity may be very misleading: because the structure must be understood properly as well (and that's the big error of Balaresque's paper, now elegantly smashed).

...

"Maju, I made a drawing of the 2 main possibilities of how R1b developed."

Very interesting, thanks. At first I thought that the second model should be the correct one, with two parallels haplogroups almost necessarily spawning from the common R1b1b2 root. But now I think that the first model is perfectly valid (and maybe even the most likely one), as long as we understand the structure and geographical distribution patterns, as well as not forcing the timeline too much towards the present where it just can't fit.

The model at the left is perfectly valid just that it's disproportionate, with the largest haplogroup shrunk down and its huge internal diversity not properly illustrated.

"Anyhow, knowing that there are 2 main clusters of R1b1b2, we can separate them and calculate their respective variances".

Sure. Geographical distribution of the variance is what could be informative because, being autonomous, they cannot really be compared one with each other directly. Also the structure is not determined by the variance but the phylogeny.

pconroy said...

Maju,

I've been to Newgrange twice, and when you are at the end of the passage, there is a slightly wider area - an "inner sanctum" of sorts - and when you look up towards the ceiling, you are looking at the inside of a pyramid, composed of overlapping flat stones. When it was first built, there would not be that mound of dirt, just a pyramid. It's definitely not a dolmen - which are small, with one horizontal flat stone on top.

Also, the spiral decorations are typical, and found in many places in Ireland, and are certainly not Nordic. In one of the recesses and on the entrance stone, there are Triple Spirals:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triple_spiral
Also called a Triskelion:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triskelion

This symbol is found in:
1. The Isle of Man
2. Brittany
3. Sicily
4. Ingushetia - North East Caucasus -
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_4WmzPgdOtRk/SkFEmiUthsI/AAAAAAAAAQ4/7ZRMRZMFWE8/s400/Ingushetia.jpeg

In Ireland the Manx name is said to derive from Manannán mac Lir:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manann%C3%A1n_mac_Lir


The Irish name, Manannán, derives from an earlier name for the Isle of Man. The patronymic mac Lir may have been metaphorical and meant 'son of the sea' (ler is Manx for 'sea' and ler is Old Irish for 'sea'.


So the symbol represents the sea or waves on the sea - so a maritime reference, maybe pointing to a maritime culture, which brought agriculture to Ireland.

pconroy said...

Dienekes, Maju,

Somewhat related, has anyone looked at this paper from Prof Koch of the University of Wales:
http://ifc.dpz.es/recursos/publicaciones/29/54/26koch.pdf

Dr Koch says that the Tartessian culture of South West Iberia was actually Celtic speaking, based on deciphering their scripts?

Ge suggests that the Celtic language didn't evolve in Central Europe, but rather much earlier in the Balkans - in the Early Urnfield Culture - and one branch spread from there to South West Spain?!

Any thoughts on this??

pconroy said...

Check particularly the map on page 13 of the FREE pdf

eurologist said...

Anyhow, the same as happens with Kurgans, demic replacement (excepting to some extent low density areas like Poland) is not really apparent. These cultural changes, including Kurgans, are more like cultural transitions, which combine the new and "foreign" with the old and local, and sometimes several "foreign" influences at one time.

Add the bell beaker culture to the list. At any rate, every time I hear of Kurgan invasion westward I picture the horse carriages in the heavy mud, snow, and dense forest of Poland, and visions of the retreating armies of Napoleon and Hitler come to me... ;)

http://cartographia.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/minard_napoleon.png

Maju said...

"... when you look up towards the ceiling, you are looking at the inside of a pyramid, composed of overlapping flat stones".

Ah, very interesting. Fair enough. I did not know that detail, which is curious because it reminds of the false dome technique of the tholos, just that this one follows a round and not square pattern.

"Also, the spiral decorations are typical, and found in many places in Ireland, and are certainly not Nordic. In one of the recesses and on the entrance stone, there are Triple Spirals"...

Of course! I was thinking that Scandinavian dolmens and standing stones are often decorated too, what is rarer in the south. But the motif is rather unique indeed.

Irish-Breton-Sicilian, that's a pretty unique triskellion itself.

"So the symbol represents the sea or waves on the sea"...

What about being a clover? It's the first thing I thought about with the triple spiral, specially considering the association of this plant and Ireland, where it seems it is a locally rooted pre-Christian symbol.

But I take the waves icon as a possibility. However I have always considered the obviously related lauburu or swastika, as a representation of the astronomical/astrological year from the viewpoint of the four elements (seasons too), while the three arms could be a non-contradictory interpretation from the viewpoint of qualities. However this is necessarily based on Hellenistic astrology, and previous versions may well have been different (for instance Etruscans seem to have got a 16 months year, clearly a 4x4 and not 3x4 of our calendar).

So... who knows!

Maju said...

"Somewhat related, has anyone looked at this paper from Prof Koch of the University of Wales".

Someone sent it to me or something because the answer is yes, oddly yes. I don't know Celtic so I can't judge if his readings are good or far fetched but I know that it contradicts my manual on how to read Tartessian, and Iberian script in general (however, I imagine that there are some differences).

Just for the record some of the texts (p. 342, same order) as should be by my manual:

· AARTOOI (or 'aardooi'), where he reads 'aarkui' (or 'aargui'). Arto is maize (in the past millet) and ardo wine in Basque. His reading of "argos" is funny because I think it is a Greek word of Basque connection (Basque 'argi'=light, clear, bright; by extension: intelligent, clever). In Greek itself it's thought to be pre-IE.

·AIBUURIS, for me AIBOORIS but close enough.

·ALBOOROI for me is ALBOEREI (Basque albo, near to..., at...?) Could also be a varian of the previous, where AI<>AL, BUR-<>BOR- and different declination: -is (Basque: norez: by whom) and -ei (plural nori: to whom). So first would be "by Aibur" or "Aibura" and second to the Alboers or Alboeras. Maybe the same name after all?

·ALTOO (or aldoo) where he reads ALKUU (or alguu)

·ALIŚN? where he reads ALIŚNE. I have not seen anywhere that the circle means E and I used to read as O instead based on the Ibero-Jonian or, based on Eastern Iberian script, as BU (PU) or KU (GU). Ś is a second sibillant distinct of S that I usually represent as Z (sound like in English).

·ANSATEIA (or 'ansadeia') where he reads ANBAATIA (or 'anbaadia'). Deia means call in Basque.

·ARIARIŚ? where he reads ARIARIŚE. Ari is a verbal particle of action in Basque, from which the professional particle -ari, transposed into some IE languages as -er (as in 'player'), -ero, etc. which is IMO one of the strongest markers of Vascoid substrate in Westernmost IE. The construction reminds me of arin-arin (quick-quick), a traditional Basque musical style and dance, characterized by hyper-fast high pitched music.

I could continue but anyhow seeing how he swings into highly tentative unilateral readings, I'm rather disappointed.

It's not impossible anyhow that some late Tartessian texts would be Celtic, as Lusitanians and Celtici did put pressure on the SE and arrived to Roman era pretty much celtizied after all.

"Check particularly the map on page 13 of the FREE pdf".

The map is wrong and tendentious. There's absolutely no reason to exclude the Basque Country and Western France, specially the SW from the Atlantic Bronze area. There is also no particular reason to include the Iberian plateau. The border is totally arbitrary in any case. There is no substantial continuity between the Atlantic Bronze and Celtic Iberia, rather the opposite. The paper seems pretty much junk to me... but matter of opinion, I guess.

Maju said...

"Add the bell beaker culture to the list".

Phenomenon. If Megalithism is a phenomenon and not a proper culture, Bell Beaker is much more so. In fact Bell Beaker is a minority culture that changes nearly nothing where it arrives. It's not "trivial" because it has its own interest but it's not the demic migration scenario some dream of.

Simply impossible.

Making a language and cultural frame spread with Bell Beaker would be like pretending ancient Hebrew to spread with the Bible or seven-armed candelabra.

"At any rate, every time I hear of Kurgan invasion westward I picture the horse carriages in the heavy mud, snow, and dense forest of Poland, and visions of the retreating armies of Napoleon and Hitler come to me... ;)"

LOL

But it's completely different: rather than Napoleon invading Russia is more like Stalin "liberating" Germany, hehe!

Though they were not communists for sure.

Anyhow, looking at these processes that take maybe a full millenium only to consolidate, as is the case in Central Europe between Baalberge and Corded Ware, you just cannot think in mere military terms, no matter what battles and heroes were sung upon their time. Maybe the change was swifter in some parts of the Balcans but some elements are also more obscure.

Surely there are moments when a rapid expansion is obviously happening in a period of a century or less, such as when Corded Ware quickly takes over West Germany, Netherlands, Bohemia and Scandinavia, or when the Urnfields advanced along the Rhône into Catalonia, etc. But these episodes have to be understood in a wider context anyhow and are often more gradual and fussional. Bouts and consolidations, sometimes the latter very lengthy, like the millenium-long peaceful Bell Beaker period, after the Danubian nations had been taken off the equation (by both sides, not just IEs).

eurologist said...

pconroy,

Thanks for the link to that article. I just read it quickly but didn't find any mention of a Balkan link. As to the map, that part of the Balkans is just the origin of cremation - just part of the much more complex Urnfield culture.

As some of you know, I have long argued that there is little evidence Celtic was actually spoken East of the Rhine and South of the Danube. Essentially, the closer you get to the (cultural) Celtic homeland, the less Celtic the languages get, which is of course the opposite of what is expected when viewing that region as the source of the language family.

For example, no one knows for sure whether Ligurian was Celtic at all, and Lepontic to me looks about half way between Old Germanic and Italic languages, as one might expect, with relatively little that would make it specifically Celtic.

So, the closer you get to the Celtic (cultural) homeland, the more the language seems to just become some generic central-European IE, and in my opinion also closer to Germanic.

Finally, the time line has never worked out. Clearly, Hallstadt and La Tene cannot be the origin of Celtic languages in the Atlantic region; at best for parts of Gaulish, but even that is not the case IMO. And once you need to invoke Urnfield or even times before that, you may as well say that Proto-Celtic is simply the most western expression of IE, and probably goes back at least 4,000 years (the start of the Central European Bronze Age), and most likely to Bell Beaker.

ashraf said...

Vasconic Arin-Arin (hurry hurry) dance.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZf5XxNJlA8

Northeastern Anatolia Kolbastı dance!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fjcgSVKcVg

In both Basks and northeastern Anatolians anchoy fish is a popular food.

Maju said...

Haha, Ashraf! The Turkish bunch look like in a disco by their dancing style (and amateurism?) I don't see much similitude with arin-arin but whatever. The music is also totally different.

Aaron said...

Just a few added points. Another symbol like the triskelion is the triquetra, but whether it has 'insular celtic' or Nordic origins is not known for sure. If there is any relationship, I would expect the dolmens of TRB to be distantly related to those of Ireland/BI/Iberia. I don't see the need to remove the relationship between two regions. Perhaps Bell Beaker was a local NW European phenomenon under influence from Corded horizon that spread southwards. This would be a logical explanation if North-South Europe, as well as maritime routes were already well established.

onur said...

The Turkish bunch look like in a disco by their dancing style (and amateurism?)

That is because what they are performing is a "modernized" or some sort of remixed(!) (corrupted if you ask me) form of the original Kolbastı dance and music. The original Kolbastı dance and music are less brisk and energetic, and the original music of course doesn't employ any Western musical instrument or any electric/electronic instrument or equipment and only employs a classical (non-electric) baglama (maybe also traditional percussion). This one is closer to the original Kolbastı (of course, as I said, the original is performed without any guitar or any other Western musical instrument and without any electric/electronic instrument or equipment):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDOd4PRWer0&feature=related

onur said...

Some musicians perform Kolbastı music with a Pontic kemenche (lyra) instead of baglama, so, as in horon (Turkish name of the Pontic horos), the main Kolbastı instrument may have been Pontic kemenche (which is a very very much older musical instrument than baglama and certainly much more popular than baglama in the region) in the original Kolbastı instead of baglama. Anyway, it doesn't matter whatever is the case because Kolbastı is a very young dance and music form (most probably not older than 100 years and it isn't even traditional and has been mostly recently popularized by the Turkish mass media), so it in no way represents the authentic Pontic music and dance (unlike horon).

Dienekes said...

onur, you need to find a way to stop the multiple postings, because they litter the blog.

onur said...

Again sorry, Dienekes. I promise I will never repeat it again, at least not in any extreme way.

Maju said...

"Perhaps Bell Beaker was a local NW European phenomenon"...

That's one of the theories: a Dutch origin. Another is the Iberian origin but quite mainstream is Bohemian origin. Whatever the exact origin of the phenomenon, the apogee (Maritime/International style) has as center the VNSP civilization of Portugal. The previous phase (corded beakers) is more like introductory and the late phase is one of division within the BB process.

For me BB is nothing but something that happens within the apogee of Megalithism in the context of interaction with IEs. But there's no Megalithism anymore east of the Rhine and North Sea, so there it does adopt a different meaning probably.

IMO they were a traders' guild with elements of religious sect. You could write a great novel on them if you really get to imagine the context and the details.

...

Onur: thanks for the correction. Still fail to see the connection with arin-arin but the dance is cool and well performed. It's the kind of music I think as Balcano-Caucasian, very different from what we do here but with its own interest.

onur said...

Still fail to see the connection with arin-arin

That is Ashraf's claim, not mine, so we should wait to see what response he will give to your objection, if any.

onur said...

I think as Balcano-Caucasian

Maybe, but, as I said, Kolbastı is very young, and it seems more like an original innovation.

onur said...

I say original innovation because the traditional Northeastern Anatolian (Pontic) music and dances (horon) are very different and seem like totally unrelated to Kolbastı:

horon dances (here accompanied by kemenche, though other instruments like tulum, accordion, clarinet and kaval (but never baglama or saz) can also be used):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2S1aCNpAA4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhbsC7b21js&feature=related

kemenche:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wd_5bYU43Y

tulum (Pontic bagpipe):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wd_5bYU43Y

onur said...

Oops! I accidently gave the kemenche link to tulum. It would be this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PIztZIxKAI&feature=related

onur said...

Erratum: accidently -> accidentally

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

Btw, the kemenches played in the links above are all "Pontic kemenche", the traditional kemenche of northern Anatolia (Pontus). There is one other type of kemenche in Turkey: "classical kemenche", which is traditionally played in Istanbul and some of the other regions of Turkey. The instrument known by the name of "kemane" (some versions of it are also called "kabak kemane") is traditionally played in many regions of Anatolia and its environs, and like kemenche and almost all of the other musical instruments of Anatolia and its environs (including baglama), kemane has been traditionally played by both Muslims and Christians. Kemane is very close (even its name is very close) to Pontic kemenche and so can also be considered as a type of kemenche.

terryt said...

"And once you need to invoke Urnfield or even times before that, you may as well say that Proto-Celtic is simply the most western expression of IE, and probably goes back at least 4,000 years (the start of the Central European Bronze Age), and most likely to Bell Beaker".

I've long suspected that to be the situation. Celtic, German and the Italic languages have a common origin. They diverged as they spread west, north and south.

onur said...

I've long suspected that to be the situation. Celtic, German and the Italic languages have a common origin. They diverged as they spread west, north and south.

These three branches of the IE language family seem to be more related to each other than to any other known IE branch, but their exact relationship to each other and also to other IE branches is very much open to debate.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

“I wasn't aware of any evidence that would connect the Minoans to megaliths...”

To be clear, I didn't make a very strong claim. I merely said that: “A plausible ancient Maritime culture to associate with the megaliths is the Minoan culture.” But, it is splausible that the Minoans or a culture antecedent to them were connected with the megaliths.

1. The appearance of megalithic culture is close in time to the appearance of the Near Eastern/European package of crops and domesticated animals; in the British Isles, those innovations could not have arrived without maritime trade.

2. Megalithic is also largely exclusive of the area where the Linear Pottery migration of farming and herding is working its way up the Danube and where the Funnelbeaker culture is found. It pre-dates the Bell Beaker culture by more than 1000 years. Timing also suggests that farming and herding of Near Eastern crops likely reached the Atlantic area by a coastal route.

3. The participants in the megalithic culture had regular maritime trade. The archeological similarities over thousands of years, all along the Atlantic and North Mediterranean coastline attest to that fact.

4. The R1b/R1a divide coincides neatly with the areas where the megalithic culture was present and the area where the Linear Pottery/Funnelbeaker culture is found.

5. Men with Y-DNA haplotypes immediately prior to the R1a/R1b divide are common in the Red Sea area.

6. R1b is not found in the Eastern/Central European Linear Pottery/Funnelbeaker area in great frequencies. If R1b had its origins in Central Europe, you would expect a mix of R1a and R1b there, and would expect R1a to be ancestral to R1b, which it is not.

7. Ancient DNA overwhelmingly supports demic replacement as the norm rather than exception in the initial expansion of farming and herding in Europe. Ancient DNA also supports significant episodes of demic replacement in the Iberia and Italy within the last thousand years.

8. The megaliths were present in Basque Country, which was pre-IE, and also far pre-dated the Celtic culture which was the first known IE culture in the Atlantic region and dates to the 9th century BCE, several thousand of years after the megaliths. This provides strong circumstantial evidence that megaliths were part of a pre-IE culture.

9. The Minoans were a pre-IE culture that is well known for its maritime trade; it reached at least as far as Mediterranean Spain as indicated by Minoan objects found there, hence, it is very likely that the Minoan trade network also reached as far as Sardinia, at a time when megaliths had been erected in Sardinia.

9. The megalithic culture is not present after Bronze Age collapse (1200 BCE) and the data are not sufficiently detailed to distinguish between a demise of the megalithic culture at the time of the demise of the Minoan civilization to the IE speaking Myceneans (ca. 1400 BCE) and Bronze Age Collapse. Why would Bronze Age or Minoan collapse impact it if it was not connected.

10. Minoans used stone crypt burial and had fertility cultures with continuity between, for example, the Megalithic culture, the Minoans and Göbekli Tepe.Marija Gimbutas wrote the book making that suggestion.

11. Early developments of the megalithic culture it towards the North end of the range (British Isles, Brittany, greater Denmark). One could have a sequence of Near Eastern farming arriving via a coastal route in the Atlantic area, followed by megalithic religious/archeological innovation in the North by the people most reliant on the sea, followed by back migration of a maritime orientation to the Minoans whose palace culture may have been a locally influenced refinement.

Marnie said...

ashraf,

Just looked at the traditional dance links you put up.

As with language, you have to be extremely careful before you assume cultural association by examining a few elements of dance.

I think it would be quite difficult to assume an association between the Vasconic and Turkish dances you put up.

Even with Turkish and Greek dances, while there are some similarities, there are also quite significant differences.

For starters, Western European dances seem to be danced in place and often on point (point the toe).

Eastern European dances are usually danced in a line (of people, as in Croatia and Turkey) or in a circle. They are almost never danced on point. The dances in the Southern Balkans are almost always danced in a right rotating circle.

There do seem to be some vague similarities between Western and Eastern European folk dances, but I think it would be extremely difficult to estimate exact associations or timescales from these similarities.

You can google my post about bagpipes (tulum, gaida). I do happen to think these instruments are related and were carried west across Europe for pastoral and defensive purposes. The bagpipe/tulum/gaida is unique in the sound it creates and would not have been surpassed in outdoor transmission capability until the 20th century. (except by the horn, but horn is not compact and cannot easily be played continuously.)

As I mention in my post a few months ago, the bagpipe seems to be oddly associated with populations that have a high percentage of R1b. I'm not saying that only R1b men played it, just that there seems to be an odd association with the bagpipe and r1b.

It's quite interesting to look at the different gaida/tulum traditions:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaida

The heartland of eastern most gaida players seems to be in Georgia/Azerbaijan/Armenia.

There are a few cultures that took it further east, such as the Hazara, but I would suspect that that is not the heartland of where the gaida was developed.

I don't usually go out on a limb on some pet theory. However, in the case of the gaida/bagpipe/tulum, it's hard to miss how useful and important it must have been for outdoor communication, warning and also, to keep step in advancing a line of defense.

Keeping step might seem like a triviality, but if you've ever read about infantry warfare, you would quickly grasp how important this would be.

Maju said...

"The appearance of megalithic culture is close in time to the appearance of the Near Eastern/European package of crops and domesticated animals"...

Only in some cases. The most clear one is SW Iberia, which is also the oldest one by far, but there are two centuries or so of hiatus and it seems a very local development, not any import. There's not any known Cretan civilization so far back in time (we're talking here of the 5th millennium BCE).

"Megalithic is also largely exclusive of the area where the Linear Pottery migration of farming and herding is working its way up the Danube"...

Do you mean "excluding"? Because otherwise I make no sense of this sentence. Only a handful of West Danubian groups adopted Dolmenic Megalithism and they did so in the late stages of their history.

"The R1b/R1a divide coincides neatly with the areas where the megalithic culture was present and the area where the Linear Pottery/Funnelbeaker culture is found".

I concede for the Dolmenic Megalithism area but not for Danubian. Poland or Czechia for instance were intensely Danubian but have low levels of R1b. I see absolutely no parallel between Danubian culture and R1b.

"Men with Y-DNA haplotypes immediately prior to the R1a/R1b divide are common in the Red Sea area".

Sounds interesting. Do you have a source?

"If R1b had its origins in Central Europe, you would expect a mix of R1a and R1b there".

R1b had its origins in West Asia, R1 probably in South Asia. The R1b subset that might have got its origins in Central Europe would be R1b1b2a1 and only that sublineage (it is the vast majority of R1b by numbers but it's not all R1b, not at all).

You make a good point on why there seems to be a sharp divide between R1b-dominated and R1a-dominated areas and my humble opinion is that R1b never extended (in meaningful numbers) to places under the ice sheet like Poland, except in the westernmost areas: Scandinavia and specially Britain and Ireland. In addition, these NE areas had very low population density until historical times (only in the Middle Ages technological advances able to exploit properly the deep northern soils became available) what made male-mediated sweeps more likely, as probably happened after the Indoeuropean invasions.

The coincidence in the European space of R1b and R1a is probably nothing but a coincidence, as they seem to stem from South Asia (at R1 and R1a levels).

Regardless, a divide between West and East Europe is already evident in the Paleolithic archaeological record early on and reinforced in the late UP. However I suspect that original Eastern European Y-DNA clade was I, together or not with R1a.

"Ancient DNA overwhelmingly supports demic replacement as the norm rather than exception in the initial expansion of farming and herding in Europe".

Actually not so clear. The modern apportions of mtDNA only begin to be seen in Central Europe by the late Bronze Age, while in SW Europe Paleolithic continuity is very evident. So aDNA (and sure: we need more and better quality of this stuff) if anything would suggest a SW->Central Europe flow with Urnfields, what I think it's out of the question.

The data shows:

1. North Germany: non-modern mtDNA pools in a Kurgan (CW) site (and previous Neolithic sites) and then a totally modern mtDNA pool in a Urnfields site just a few kilometers away (but 1000 years later).

2. Iberia: more or less modern mtDNA pools, high in H, for all the time since Epipaleolithic (full Paleolithic if we consider nearby Taforalt in Morocco).

So the only thing I make sense of this is a SW->NE gene flow within Bell Beaker or something of the like. However it's not a hypothesis I like (as contradicts archaeology, it seems) so I rather think that the aDNA data panel is incomplete and possibly wrong in some cases.

(cont.)

Maju said...

"... megaliths were part of a pre-IE culture".

I very much agree with this. In fact Dolmenic Megalithism in Asia (derived from the one of Europe somewhat mysteriously) also appears outside of the Indoeuropean expansion area all the time: Caucasian peoples, Afroasiatics, Dravidians and even Koreans adopted it at different times but not ever a Indoeuropean people, whose extremely individualist and competitive culture of god-blessed war heroes, does not seem to fit with the "collectivist" (clannic?) monument these dolmens are.

"The Minoans were a pre-IE culture that is well known for its maritime trade; it reached at least as far as Mediterranean Spain as indicated by Minoan objects found there, hence, it is very likely that the Minoan trade network also reached as far as Sardinia, at a time when megaliths had been erected in Sardinia".

Minoans were pre-IE, yes. But they probably were a different pre-IE stock than West Europeans. Their language was probably different, their genetics are mostly different as well.

Eastern Mediterranean (not necessarily Minoan) items (glass beads) have been found in Eastern Iberia only in very specific occasions (two or so). There was some trade probably but nothing compared with the much better documented trade with Northern Europe (amber) and Northern Africa (ivory, ostrich egg). The Megalithic trade routes were Atlantic and West Mediterranean almost exclusively. Where East Mediterranean items have been found are areas essentially out of the Megalithic area.

However the tholos tomb should have arrived to Iberia (c. 3000 BCE, at the very beginning of Minoan civilization in the best case) from that area. Cyprus is a good candidate but there's a lapse of many centuries between Cypriot tholoi (used as homes) and Iberian tholoi (used as tombs).

The tholos again is marginal in the context of Iberian Megalithism and restricted to some areas of the south, particularly Almería. However other neo-megalithic tomb styles (artificial caves) may also have Oriental origins (??).

A more clear case can be made for the Orientalization of parts of Iberia at a later date, already deep in the Bronze Age, when El Argar civilization adopts Mycenaean burial practices (pithos). Guess it can be argued that "Minoan" (sensu latissimo) traders paved the way for Greek adventurers but even at this late stage, there is still a duality in Iberia between the Mediterranean civilization of El Argar (non-megalithic, hellenizing, with bronze) and the Atlantic civilization of Zambujal, still with Megalithism and some Bell Beaker up to its end c. 1200 BCE.

(cont.)

Maju said...

"The megalithic culture is not present after Bronze Age collapse (1200 BCE) and the data are not sufficiently detailed to distinguish between a demise of the megalithic culture at the time of the demise of the Minoan civilization to the IE speaking Myceneans (ca. 1400 BCE) and Bronze Age Collapse. Why would Bronze Age or Minoan collapse impact it if it was not connected".

It became connected within the expanding Mycenaean (Greek) civilization. As I just said, since c. 1350 BCE El Argar shows very clear signs of Hellenization and we know that in the Bronze Age, the most strategic material was tin, found in aboundance only in NW Iberia and SW Britain. Greeks hence must have realized how important was for their militaristic society to gain control or at least secure access to such strategic resources, otherwise very scarce.

The story is narrated, always from a Greek viewpoint, and quite distorted by the pass of time, in several legends: two of Herakles' Jobs and Plato's narration of Atlantis. At least that's my opinion.

The fact that the collapse of the civilization of Zambujal (VNSP) is coincident with the silting of the canal joining it to the Ocean, running by the exact distance described by Plato, suggests me that a tsunami caused the destruction of Zambujal (just as another one destroyed nearby Lisbon in 1775) and that, being already in decline, it never fully recovered, becoming then a non-urban society (externally burnished pottery culture) until the Celtic invasion some 500 years later, with Tartessos probably taking its role for some centuries, until Phoenicians destroyed it.

"Minoans used stone crypt burial and had fertility cultures with continuity between, for example, the Megalithic culture, the Minoans and Göbekli Tepe.Marija Gimbutas wrote the book making that suggestion".

Maybe. But they may just reflect an older shared (Neolithic) background. However it's true that Cycladic (not Minoan) figurines and Los Millares idols have some general affinity, particularly by depicting the head of "the goddess" as an inverted triangle - nothing else. Not enought to establish cultural identity but suggestive of some contact possibly.

"Early developments of the megalithic culture it towards the North end of the range (British Isles, Brittany, greater Denmark). One could have a sequence of Near Eastern farming arriving via a coastal route in the Atlantic area, followed by megalithic religious/archeological innovation in the North by the people most reliant on the sea, followed by back migration of a maritime orientation to the Minoans whose palace culture may have been a locally influenced refinement".

I don't think you can seriously consider a N->S migration in those times. Also, there's no archaeological backing for such ideas. The Mega-Megalithic style so typical of Britain has its roots in Armorica (Brittany, West France) and is exceptional, not the norm. The norm is collective burial in dolmens, with or without gallery. It is the humble dolmen what defines Megalithism as a unit, not the rarer colossal monuments. There are also many cultures, particularly in the Mediterranean, that practiced collective burial in other ways, typically in caves. They are not normally considered Megalithic but conceptually they are pretty close.

onur said...

Even with Turkish and Greek dances, while there are some similarities, there are also quite significant differences.

Of all the traditional (by traditional I mean the ones going back to pre-modern times) Turkish dance styles, as far as I know only bar and lezginka do not exist among the Greeks. The rest (zeybek, hora, horon, chiftetelli, karshilama and halay) are all traditionally performed also by the Greeks. The reason why bar (I am not actually so sure if it really doesn't exist among the Greeks) and lezginka do not exist among the Greeks is that they exist in Turkey almost exclusively in the ancient Armenian and Georgian territories; this also explains their existence among the Georgians, Armenians and Azeris (btw, halay and horon too are traditionally performed by them). So, none of the traditional Turkish dance styles are exclusively Turkish.

Here is a map showing the traditionally main traditional dance styles of the provinces of Turkey:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Verbreitungskarte_der_t%C3%BCrkischen_Volkst%C3%A4nze.png

But, of course, for the common Turkish-Greek traditional dance styles (I mentioned all of them above) there may be significant differences between their Turkish and Greek percentage distributions (there may also be some stylistic differences), largely due to the difference of place of origin for the majority of the Greeks and Turks (south Balkans for the majority of the Greeks, Anatolia for the majority of the Turks).

Marnie said...
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Marnie said...
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Marnie said...

Sorry to all for this off topic information about Turkish and Greek dances.

Onur,

I think there are significant stylistic differences between traditional Turkish and Greek dances. Some dances, such as the Horon, do seem to be danced traditionally in both countries, but even then, the styles are divergent. See links to a Cretan and Turkish Horon dances, below.

Zeybek Dance - Turkey
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhR5fFIas5M
From the Aegean Region of Turkey. This dance is somewhat similar to dances I've seen danced in regions of Northern Greece, such as Florina. However, although it is customary for the lead dancer to separate from the line and improvise, it is not customery for all the Greek dancers to dance separately as in this Turkish dance.

Some Greek Cypriot dances are danced as singles.

Horon dances ---------------------

Cretan Horon dance
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nt8HXgcwtvE

Turkish Horon dance
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSJY84RkTGU&feature=related

Belly dances --------------------

Although the chiftetelli, karshilama and halay may occasionally be danced in Greece, they are not considered to be traditionally Greek.

Marnie said...

Totally OT, but there's only so much Megalithism that I can handle.

Couldn't help it:

Best Bluegrass Clog Dancing Video Ever Made
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cs2j8f7H2WY&feature=pyv&ad=4904988462&kw=dance&gclid=CPPlsorJvKECFQdkgwodqw-s9w

Flat Footing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9rJ2na9Umg&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIHL_Dzf1xo&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aphScE2oZts&feature=related

Dienekes said...

The conversation on dancing ends here, and please don't litter the blog with long discussions on unrelated topics. A casual observation that is off-topic is fine, but a multi-post thread on Anatoian dancing in a post about European R-M269 is a no-no.

onur said...
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Marnie said...

On the original topic of this thread, the uncertainty of estimating the age the split between east and west R-M269, I would like to see more discussion.

I would really like to see a graphical depiction of the uncertainty in estimating the age of the split.

It would be instructive to see the uncertainty discussed from different angles: genetic, linguistic and archeological.

Without a concise comparison of these, I'll satisfy myself with looking at the ultimate effect of the split: culture.

[Onur, the origin of belly dancing is not Greek. Amongst my Iranian friends, it is also not considered to be a traditional Iranian dance, (although it is a very fun dance.)

It does appear to be a traditional dance of Egypt and Lebanon, to name a few.]

Maju said...

"I would really like to see a graphical depiction of the uncertainty in estimating the age of the split".

I think I have already mentioned it but anyhow:

Henn 2009. Search for fig. 2.

It's not about R1b specifically but about the accurate usage of "pedigree" and "evolutionary" rates in MC age estimations. The pedigree rates fails miserably at ages before 5000 years ago (3000 BCE). However there is an area of uncertainty between that date and c. 15,000 years ago. Earlier the evolutionary rate is the only one that provides consistent answers, it seems.

In this case, always within the theoretical and undemonstrated MC hypothesis, the evolutionary rate is providing answers that match the requirements, instead the pedigree rate always falls outside of its narrow time allowance.

I'm no fan of the MC hypothesis as such, which obviously needs a lot of refining (to say the least), but within that context this is as good as it gets.

onur said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
onur said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dienekes said...

What part of the "conversation on dancing ends here" don't you understand?

Marnie said...

Maju,

Thanks for the Henn 2009 "Characterizing the Time Dependency of Human Mitochondrial DNA Mutation Rate Estimates" reference.

I'm still sorting through it. It's one of those "wow" papers, IMHO.

The paper mentions yDNA, but is focused primarily on mtDNA.

Is there a similar comprehensive paper on yDNA?

If not, is there such a paper in the works?

Also, early in this thread, there was a discussion about population size. I haven't followed all of the discussion in this thread. Pardon me. Were any references mentioned on work to estimate population size in Eurasia in the last 30,000 years?

Thank you.

onur said...

Marnie, Dienekes deleted my last two posts, which were replies to your statements in square brackets in your previous post. If you haven't been able to read them or have forgotten or missed some parts, please send me an email at gedoloth@yahoo.com so that I can send you my deleted posts (including the one you already replied).

Maju said...

Marnie there are diverse opinions on how good is the MC and how should it be used and I tried to gather some of the most important recent papers in this post.

However, in the same search I did to find this link above, I stumbled with a long spate of posts all saying that the MC must be slower than usually claimed:

- Molecular clock two to six times slower than thought.
- Molecular clock must be slower for primates to have diverged when Africa and America were still together.
- Mutation rate is less than half.
- Human-chimp divergence should be at least 8 million years old (not anywhere from 7 to 5 million as is usually claimed, and this is a crucial reference for human MC guesstimates).

I have no faith in the MC as it is now: it must be even slower than the evolutionary rate most probably. But this is what we have.

Anyhow, mtDNA is a general reference and a more clear field, because you often have complete sequences to work with (due to the much smaller size of the DNA string). If you can't get things straight in the mtDNA, much less in the Y-DNA.

I don't think that there's such a paper on Y-DNA specifically anyhow.

Marnie said...

onur,

I read your posts before they were deleted. I also checked wiki (if you can take that as a source). The dance you are refering to is indeed not a belly dance. However, if wiki is to be believed, the dance *is* of Turkish origin.

This only underlines my original point that traditional Greek and Turkish dances are easily distinguishable(based on costume, many points of style, music and musical intruments.) There are even quite observable regional differences within each country.

We absolutely have to stop talking about this or we are both going to be excommunicated.

The technical discussion of uncertainly in time estimates of genetic splits, while not so obviously enticing, perhaps offers a greater chance of leading to a definitive answer regarding the relatedness of Europeans and SW Asians.

onur said...

We absolutely have to stop talking about this or we are both going to be excommunicated.

Agreed. But you can always continue this discussion through the email address I provided. One last thing I will add before finishing this discussion (at least in this blog) is that for many things that goes back to pre-modern times it is extremely blurry what is Turkish or not (many historians will admit to that). Turks and Greeks are still fervently debating over things like the origin of baklava to no avail. I think it is much more appropriate to focus on more concrete facts in this respect.