July 23, 2012

Anthropological Investigation of the S. Greece population’s composition in the Bronze Age

Here is a link to S. K. Manolis's 1991 dissertation which complements the previous one by G. Panagiaris, since it includes data from the Peloponnese and Crete. I might translate parts of it in the space below. The author seems to argue for an environmental cause of brachycephalization during the Bronze Age; personally I think that the more likely explanation is intrusion by mountain-folk from either the Pindos area or Anatolia, associated with metallurgy. In any case, I am hopeful that some of the Ancient Greek osteological material, some of which has been excavated many decades ago may still possess usable DNA that could be exploited in future studies that may overcome the limits of craniometry.

3 comments:

Aren Allahverdian said...

The timing of this post is perfect, because your recent discussion of brachycephalic specimens as the indication of population replacement had me wondering about the process of brachycephalization itself.

The seemingly sudden appearance of markedly broad-headed individuals in Bronze Age Crete is most certainly a case of intrusion. If we consider Anatolia as the likely migratory route for these newcomers, then was this simply the autochthonous brachycephalic highlanders descending westward into the lowlands, or had they been ‘brachycephalized’ elsewhere themselves? Accordingly, could this brachycephalic element be viewed as a specialized subset developing out of the preceding dolichocephalic population of the Anatolian Neolithic, or did they undergo brachycephalization outside of their future center of concentration much longer before? In other words, to what extent does the prevalence of brachycephalism and cranial morphing in general indicate population movement rather than gradual transformation, specifically in regards to Anatolia and the Armenian Highland, and with respect to the Caucasus as a possible point of origin?

Sgt. Gil said...

I know it’s a stretch but brachycephalic, [Y-Haplogroup G-?] Anatolia, Armenian Highland, Caucasus, metallurgy ... sounds like my “ancestor” Tubal Cain [Tabal; Tibarenoi-? Kenite-?] the artificer of bronze and iron...

Aren Allahverdian said...

@Sgt. Gil,

It actually isn't that much of a stretch. As alluded to elsewhere in the blog, mythic accounts of physically distinct beings bringing magical knowledge(metallurgical technology)abound in varying traditions across Eurasia. The biblical association may belong to the same category.